How to Compile C++ Program to EXE in Windows?

How to compile C++ program into exe?

If you’re a beginner in programming and looking to compile your C++ program into an executable (EXE) file on a Windows operating system, this article will guide you through the process. Compiling your code is an essential step to run it as a standalone application on Windows computers.


Before you begin, make sure you have the following:

  1. A C++ compiler installed on your Windows machine. You can use popular options like MinGW or Microsoft Visual Studio (Community edition is free).
  2. A text editor or integrated development environment (IDE) to write your C++ code. You can choose from options like Visual Studio Code or Code::Blocks.

Once you have these prerequisites in place, you’re ready to compile your C++ program into an EXE file.

Steps to convert C++ program to executable file in windows

Step 1: Writing the C++ Code

Open your preferred text editor or IDE and create a new file. Write your C++ code in this file, or if you already have an existing C++ file, open it.

For demonstration purposes, let’s consider a simple “Hello, World!” program:

#include <iostream>

int main() {
    std::cout << "Hello, World!" << std::endl;
    return 0;

Save the file with a “.cpp” extension, such as “hello.cpp”. Choose a descriptive name for your file that reflects its purpose.

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Step 2: Opening the Command Prompt

To compile the C++ program, you need to use the command prompt. Here’s how you can open it:

  1. Press Windows Key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type ‘cmd' and press Enter or click OK.

The command prompt window will open.

Step 3: Navigating to the C++ Program Directory

In the command prompt window, you need to navigate to the directory where your C++ program is saved. Use the 'cd‘ command followed by the path to the directory. For example:

cd C:\path\to\your\program\directory

Replace ‘C:\path\to\your\program\directory' with the actual path to your program’s directory.

Step 4: Compiling the C++ Program

Once you’re in the correct directory, you can compile the C++ program using the appropriate compiler.

If you’re using MinGW, execute the following command:

g++ hello.cpp -o hello.exe

If you’re using Microsoft Visual Studio, use this command instead:

cl hello.cpp

The compiler will generate an EXE file based on your C++ code.

Step 5: Running the EXE File

After successful compilation, you can run the EXE file. In the command prompt, enter the name of the generated EXE file and press Enter. For example:


You should see the output “Hello, world!” displayed on the command prompt.

Distributing Your EXE File

Now that you have successfully compiled your C++ program into an EXE file, you can distribute it to others. The EXE file can be run on any Windows machine without the need for a compiler or additional dependencies. You can share the EXE file through email, file sharing platforms, or by creating an installer using specialized software.

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Compiling a C++ program into an EXE file allows you to create standalone applications that can run on Windows machines without the need for

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