How to set up Eclipse with the gcc C++ compiler and GoogleTest on Windows7, from scratch

With no other requirement than Windows 7 and an internet connection, this tutorial walks you through all the steps leading up to a free development environment where you can code, build and unit test your C++ programs on Windows 7.

The steps and links were valid as of January 2013, but the internet is not a fixed environmnt ;-) For the most up to date information, consult the tool's own home pages.

1. Download and install the 64-bit version of Java from
    (If you will be using a 32-bit version of Eclipse, you should be able to get away with 32-bit Java)
2. Download  and install 'Eclipse for C/C++ Developers' from
    (This tutorial is based on the 64-bit Juno version, but 32-bit should also work fine)

3. Download and run the latest MinGW installer from

  When asked by the installer, check "MSYS Basic System" and the C++ compiler (Optionally uncheck the C compiler).
  IMPORTANT: Yes, you need MSYS, because it contains rm, which is used by mingw32-make when cleaning builds.
    IMPORTANT: You must manually add MSYS and GCC to your Windows PATH, the MinGW installer intentionally does not do this for you !!    (Since I installed MinGW into C:\Apps\MinGw, I added  C:\Apps\MinGw\bin\ and C:\Apps\MinGw\1.0\bin to my PATH)

4. Download GoogleTest from
   and extract the zip file contents into a local directory.
   Rename the directory to C:\Apps\googletest, so e.g. the file README ends up in that directory.
    To build the googletest library I did as the googletest README says:

        A.  Open a DOS window
        B.  cd C:\Apps\googletest\make
        C.  mingw32-make
                 (This compiles the library)
        D.  ar -rv libgtest.a gtest-all.o
                 (This create the library libgtest.a out of the file gtest-all.o)
At this point, all the tools are installed.
The remaining steps will all be carried out in Eclipse, so start up Eclipse.

5. In Eclipse, create a brand new project for our C++ code:  
              Click File | New | C++ Project
              Project name: my_fist_tdd_project
              Project type  : Executable, Hello World C++ Project
              Toolchains    : MinGw
    The project Eclipse creates is empty, except for 6 include patchs for MinGw.

6.  Change the project's builder to MinGw's builder:
               Click Project | Properties | C++ Build | Tool Chain Editor
               Select 'GNU Make Builder' in the 'Current builder' pull-down list.
               Click Apply

7.  Change the project's build command:
               Click Project | Properties | C++ Build
               Select '[All configurations]' in the 'Configuration' pull-down list.
               Uncheck 'Use default build command'
               Enter 'mingw32-make' in 'Build Command'.
               Click Apply

8. You should now be able to test your build settings:
               Click Project | Build project
               The message "Info: Nothing to build for " appears in Eclipse's console.
9.  Add the path of googletest's header files to the project's include paths:
               Click Project | Properties | C++ Build
               Make sure the selected build configuration is Debug (It is by default)
               Click Settings | Tool Settings | GCC C++ Compiler | Includes
               For the 'Include paths (-I)' list, click the green plus sign, then the File system.. button.
               Browse to googletest's 'include' directory, and select it. (C:\Apps\googletest\include)
               The absolute path now appears in the list box.
               Click Apply

10.  Add the path of the googletest library to the project's linker paths:
               Click Project | Properties | C++ Build
               Make sure the selected build configuration is Debug (It is by default)
               Click Settings | Tool Settings | MinGW C++ Linker | Libraries
               For the 'Libraries (-l)' list, click the green plus sign.
               Enter 'gtest' in the pop-up window.   (Note: not 'libgtest.a')
               This library name now appears in the list box.
               For the 'Library search path (-L)' list, click the green plus sign, 

                  then the File system.. button.
               Browse to libgtest.a's directory, and select the dir. (C:\Apps\googletest\make)
               The absolute path of the directory now appears in the list box.
               Click Apply
11.  Add a source folder:
              Click File | New | Source folder
              Folder name: src    (Or whatever you prefer)

Now, in the final step, let's test our environment for completeness:

12. In the new src source folder, click File | New | Source file
      Name it Counter.h and fill it with:

        class Counter {
                int counter_;
                Counter() : counter_(0) {}
                int Increment();

    Add a second file Counter.cpp in the src folder, and fill it with:

       #include <stdio.h>
       #include "Counter.h"
       int Counter::Increment() {
           return counter_++;

    Add a third file Counter_tests.cpp to the src folder, and fill it with:

       #include <iostream>
       using namespace std;
       #include "gtest/gtest.h"
       #include "Counter.h"

       TEST(Counter, Increment) {
          Counter c;

          EXPECT_EQ(0, c.Increment());
          EXPECT_EQ(1, c.Increment());
          EXPECT_EQ(2, c.Increment());

          cout << "Congratulations, you have just run a test :-)" << endl;

       int main(int argc, char **argv) {
           ::testing::InitGoogleTest(&argc, argv);
          return RUN_ALL_TESTS();

    Click Project | Run
    and expect to see the output from Counter_tests.cpp in Eclipse's Console window:

      [==========] Running 1 test from 1 test case.
      [----------] Global test environment set-up.
      [----------] 1 test from Counter
      [ RUN      ] Counter.Increment
      Congratulations, you have just run a test :-)
      [       OK ] Counter.Increment (0 ms)
      [----------] 1 test from Counter (0 ms total)

      [----------] Global test environment tear-down
      [==========] 1 test from 1 test case ran. (0 ms total)
      [  PASSED  ] 1 test.

The set-up is complete, you can now start coding awsome C++ applications, and unit test them with GoogleTest, in Eclipse.  Happy coding!


Hint: You will get the error message

          undefined reference to `WinMain@16'
from Eclipse if you forget the main() function in Counter_tests.cpp. Just copy the above Counter_tests.cpp and you should be fine.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks a LOT! I've spent some time trying to get it right, and it wasn't easy... Your post is the best: and I know what I'm typing as I have seen a lot of other posts! Thank you very much, great job!