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Wiki > Main > WindowsDevelopmentPlatforms

Choosing a Rockbox Development Platform for Windows.

NOTE:This is a work in progress still.


The Rockbox cross-compiler only works on Unix (not Windows), but a number of ways exist to get some kind of Linux behahiour on Windows to run the compiler on.

Prominent ones include:

  • Cygwin
  • Virtual Machines (VMWare, VirtualBox, VirtualPC, etc)
  • CoLinux
  • WinARM (Windows Port of the arm-elf-gcc toolchain, for ARM only)
  • Interix (POSIX subsystem for Windows NT-based systems)




  • Lightweight. No heavy RAM usage, no virtual network adapters show up,


  • Sloooooooooow

Virtual Machines

Virtualization is a way of running an OS inside another one, such that one can run Linux in a window on Windows(or a different pair of OSs).

General Pros

  • Compiling should be at nearly the same speed it would be at running on the raw metal, if sufficient RAM is available
  • Gives an easy-to-use GUI for all development work

General Cons

  • Heavy on resources (two operating systems at once takes some power). Several GBs free is best, and the more RAM the better.
  • Heavy install. Often virtual network adapters will be added to your system, and other such things.



  • VMWare Player is free, and allows for easy use of the prebuilt Rockbox dev appliance--just drop it in.
  • VMWare Workstation is arguably the best virtualization product for desktop use.
  • Virtual appliances can be built for free using the online tool EasyVMX.


  • VMWare Player does not allow creation of appliances, but many are available pre-built online(including one for Rockbox development)
  • Workstation costs USD $189
  • Both are closed source.



  • VirtualBox is maintained by Sun Microsystems and comes in both a proprietary and open source edition. Both versions are free like beer (for personal use).
  • VirtualBox is available for many major operating systems.
  • VirtualBox supports VMDK, which allows it to access VMWare disk images. It should also allow drop-in use of the prebuilt Rockbox dev appliance.


  • The GPL version lacks a few features, namely USB passthrough to the guest, ability to RDP into the guest, and a virtual SATA controller.

r14 - 02 Apr 2021 - 20:46:07 - UnknownUser

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