How to Start Using C++ in Windows 10

Windows users have a wealth of choice when it comes to programming in C++. There are loads of IDEs and compilers available, including Visual Studio from Microsoft. However, in our opinion, the best C++ IDE to begin with is Code::Blocks. Code::Blocks is a free C++, C and Fortran IDE that is feature rich and easily extendible with plugins. It’s easy to use, comes with a compiler and has a vibrant community behind it too.

Start Using C++

Step 1 – To start using C++, we suggest you begin by visiting the Code::Blocks download site, at www.codeblocks.org/downloads. From there, click on the ‘Download the binary releases’ link to be taken to the latest downloadable version for Windows.

Step 2 – There you can see, there are several Windows versions available. The one you want to download has mingw-setup.exe at the end of the current version number. At the time of writing this is: codeblocks-17.12mingw-setup.exe. The difference is that the mingw-setup version includes a C++ compiler and debugger from TDM-GCC (a compiler suite).

Step 3 – When you’ve located the file, click on the Sourceforge.net link at the end of the line and a download notification window appears; click on Save File to start the download and save the executable to your PC. Locate the downloaded Code::Blocks installer and double-click to start. Follow the on-screen instructions to begin the installation.

Step 4 – Once you agree to the licencing terms, a choice of installation options becomes available. You can opt for a smaller install, missing out on some of the components but we recommend that you opt for the Full option, as default.

Step 5 – Next choose an install location for the Code::Blocks files. It’s your choice but the default is generally sufficient (unless you have any special requirements of course). When you click Next, the install begins; when it’s finished a notification pops up asking you if you want start Code::Blocks now, so click Yes.

Step 6 – The first time Code::Blocks loads it runs an autodetect for any C++ compilers you may already have installed on your system. If you don’t have any, click on the first detected option: GNU GCC Compiler and click the Default button to set it as the system’s C++ compiler. Click OK when you’re ready to continue.

Step 7 – The program starts and another message appears informing you that Code::Blocks is currently not the default application for C++ files. You have two options, to leave everything as it is or allow Code::Blocks to associate all C++ file types. Again, we would recommend you opt for the last choice, to associate Code::Blocks with every supported file type.

Step 8 – There’s a lot you can do in Code::Blocks, so you need to dig in and find a good C++ tutorial to help you get the most from it. However, to begin with, click on File > New > Empty File. This creates a new, blank window for you to type in.

Step 9 – In the new window, enter the following:

#include <iostream>
Int main()
{
//My first C++ program
Std::cout << “Hello World!\n”;
}

Notice how Code::Blocks auto-inserts the braces and speech quotes.

Step 10 – Click File > Save as and save the code with a .cpp extension (helloworld.cpp, for example). Code::Blocks changes the view to colour code according to C++ standards. To execute the code, click on the Build and Run icon along the top of the screen. It’s a green play icon together with a yellow cog.

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Russ Ware

Russ has been testing, reviewing and writing guides for tech since the heady days of Windows 95 and the Sega Saturn. Working for international publications in both print and online, if it has LED's, a screen, beeps or has source code, Russ will want to master it (and very likely take it apart to see how it works...)

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