How to compile C program to exe in Windows?


If you are a developer or a student learning programming, you might often come across situations where you need to compile your C program into an executable (exe) file. Compiling a C program into an exe file allows you to distribute your program to others who can run it without needing to have a C compiler installed on their system. In this article, we will explore the steps to compile a C program to an exe file in the Windows operating system

Understanding the Compilation Process

Before we dive into the steps of compiling a C program to an exe file, it is important to understand the compilation process. When you write a C program, it is written in human-readable form, consisting of plain text. However, computers understand instructions in binary form. The compilation process translates the human-readable C code into machine-readable binary code

How to Compile C program to exe in Windows?

Programs written in high-level languages ​​must be translated into machine language in order to be successfully compile. Therefore, once a C program is written, it must go through several stages for Compile C program to exe in Windows before it can become a complete document

Creating and executing C program requires at least four steps, now we will discuss these steps briefly :-

Steps to Compile C program to exe in Windows

Write C Program:-

First, we need to create a C program to do the job. We use editors to create or edit programs (also known as source code). C program files have the extension .C (for example: myprogram.c, myworld.c)

#include <stdio.h>
int main() {
   // printf() These function displays the string inside quotation
   printf("Hello, World!");
   return 0;

How “Hello, World!” program works?

  • The #include is a preprocessor command that tells the compiler to include the contents of stdio.h (standard input and output) file in the program.
  • If we use the printf() function without writing #include<stdio.h>, the program will not compile
  • The execution of a C program starts from the main() function.
  • returns 0; The statement is “just outside” the program. In simple terms, the program ends with a statement.
See also  What is XLSX file? Is XLSX and XLS file same?


After developing or enhancing supply code we need to assemble it through the use of compiler. If compiler does not come across any errors within the application, then it produces item documents. Compile C program to exe in Windows item file has extension .OBJ (for examples: myprogram.obj, helloworld.obj, etc.). If compiler detects errors within the application, then we need to go back to step 1 to make correction in supply code

cd C:\MyPrograms

Once you are in the correct directory, use the following command to compile the C program:

gcc -o myprogram.exe myprogram.c


Object files are not executable record so a good way to make executable report we use linker. If no mistakes occur, linker produces executable record having extension .EXE (for examples: myprogram.exe, helloworld.exe, and many others.)

Execute :-

After acquiring executing file we will run this just like other applications. We need to check to determine whether it really works properly or no longer. If application does not work well we want to go back to step 1 for changes

  • Open a command Prompt in windows by pressing windows key + R, then type “cmd” and press enter.
  • Navigate the the directory where your C program is located or saved using the “cd” command. For example, if your program is saved in C:\User\Admin\Documents directory.
  • cd C:\User\Admin\Documents
  • Compile your C program by typing below command:-
gcc filename.c -o filename.exe
  • Run your executable file by typing the name of the file by “exe”.

Testing the Executable File

To test the executable file, simply double-click on it or run it from the Command Prompt. If your C program requires any input, provide the necessary input when prompted. The program should execute and produce the expected output

See also  How to open C file? All you need to know about .C extension file

Troubleshooting Common Compilation Errors

During the compilation process, you may encounter some errors. Here are a few common compilation errors and their possible solutions:

  1. “Undefined reference to…”
    • This error usually occurs when you are using a function or variable that hasn’t been declared or defined. Make sure to include the necessary header files and provide proper declarations
  2. “No such file or directory”
    • This error indicates that the compiler cannot find the specified file. Double-check the file path and make sure the file exists in the specified location.

Optimizing the Compiled Program

To optimize the performance of your compiled program, you can use compiler flags and optimization techniques. Compiler flags provide additional instructions to the compiler on how to generate the machine code. Some commonly used compiler flags include -O1, -O2, and -O3, where -O3 represents the highest level of optimization.


Compiling a C program to an executable file in Windows is an essential step for sharing your programs with others. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can Compile C program to exe in Windows and distribute them to users who can run them without needing a C compiler


Can I compile C programs on other operating systems like macOS or Linux?

Yes, C programs can be compiled on other operating systems as well. The steps may vary slightly, but the overall process remains similar

Are there any other C compilers available for Windows besides MinGW?

Yes, there are other C compilers available for Windows, such as Microsoft Visual C++ and Dev-C++.

Can I compile multiple C files into a single executable file?

Yes, you can compile multiple C files into a single executable file. You need to include all the necessary source files in the compilation command.

Can I compile C++ programs using the same process?

The process of compiling C++ programs is similar to that of C programs. However, you need to use a C++ compiler instead of a C compiler.

1 thought on “How to compile C program to exe in Windows?”

Leave a Comment