Survivor Guide to Develop on Windows

Guide written for Linux developers.

See also:

  • Python Packaging which contains specific information for Python on Windows.
  • Compile CPython on Windows

Useful tools

Windows console

  • Kill a blocked command (harder than CTRL+c): CTRL + Scroll Lock key. (send a SIGBREAK signal)

Note: On my Lenovo T430 laptop, I have to use the “Fn” key:

  • Fn + B: Break
  • Fn + P: Pause
  • Fn + S: SysRq

cmd.exe (Windows “shell”, Windows console, the MS-DOS black window)

  • Redirect stdout and stderr into the file outlog.log: command >output.log 2>&1
Windows command UNIX command Comment
set env Display all environment variables
type file.exe cat file.txt Display the content of file.txt
echo %PATH% echo $PATH Display the value of the PATH environment variable
RMDIR /S /Q dir rm -rf dir Remove a directory and its content
cmd > log cmd > log Redirect command stdout into a new log file
cmd >log 2>&1 cmd >log 2>&1 Redirect command stdout and stderr into a new log file
cmd >NUL cmd >/dev/null Ignore command stdout (redirect it to null)

Configure vim on Windows

  • Right click on gvim: Run as administrator
  • Open /program files (x86)/vim/_vimrc
  • Comment the lines source $VIMRUNTIME/mswin.vim and behave mswin
  • Add custom config

Mount Windows directory on Linux

Command to mount the Widows “test” directory locally to ~/mnt, local files will be owned by the user haypo:haypo:

sudo mount.cifs '//' ~/mnt -o 'user=USERNAME,pass=PASSWORD,uid=haypo,gid=haypo'

Visual Studio


  • Express
  • Professional: enough to build Python
  • Ultimate


Visual Studio MSVC++ _MSC_VER
2017 14.1 1910
2015 14.0 1900
2013 12.0 1800
2012 11.0 1700
2010 10.0 1600
2008 9.0 1500
2005 8.0 1400
2003 7.1 1310
7.0 1300
6.0 1200
5.0 1100

Configure a shell to use the VS C compiler in 64-bit mode:

"%VS140COMNTOOLS%\..\..\VC"\vcvarsall.bat amd64


  • x86: compile in 32-bit mode
  • amd64: compile in 64-bit mode
  • x86_amd64: cross-compile to 64-bit mode on a 32-bit system


Git configuration file

Filename: C:\Users\haypo\.gitconfig. Run cmd.exe as administrator to be allowed to create symbolic links.

Windows console, cmd.exe

Right click on the title, Properties: set Buffer Size of Command History to 999 (default: 50).

Windows variants

To develop on CPython: get a “multi-version” of Windows 10 (no N, KN or VL variant) and use a “Pro - Retail” product key. Create of a VM with 40 GB of disk.


  • Family: basic feature set
  • Pro: more features
  • Entreprise: even more features


  • “N”: Not with Media Player; for Europe.
  • “KN”: specially designed for Korean market and does not include Windows Media Player (WMP) and an instant messenger.
  • “VL”: Volume License, a single license key can be used to activate multiple installations of Windows 10. This is usually used by large enterprises.
  • “S”: “Windows 10 S can only run apps from the Windows Store”. Windows 10 S is designed to run well even on lower-end laptops. Windows 10 S is focused on speed, better battery life, and higher performance.