5 of the best free C++ compilers for Windows 11

by Afam Onyimadu
Afam Onyimadu
Afam Onyimadu
Author
Afam is a geek and the go-to among his peers for computer solutions. He has a wealth of experience with Windows operating systems, dating back to his introduction... read more
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  • Before you run a C++ program, you would need a compiler to work on compiling your code and rendering it in a simplified machine language. 
  • A compiler ensures that the source code logic of a program is compatible and consistent with the input code.
  • The compiling process is broken down into lexical analysis, syntax analysis, semantic analysis, IR code generation, and optimization. 
free c++ compiler for windows 11

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C++ is a widely used object-oriented computer programming language that underpins most of the applications and websites you interact with.

You’ll need compilers and Integrated Development Environments to develop C++ applications, and since you’re here, I’m guessing you’re searching for one.

We’ll look at some of the top recommendations of C++ compilers for Windows 11 in this article.

Many of the compilers reviewed will be primarily for C++, but there are also many universal compilers you may want to try.

Does MinGW work on Windows 11?

In this article, we have not discussed MinGW as a stand-alone compiler but if features in some of the IDEs discussed, and is the compiler of choice for Dev C++ compiler for example.

It however works on Windows 11 and can be used as a standalone compiler. You will have to follow these steps:

  1. Download the MinGW C/C++ compiler.
  2. Extract the executable.
  3. Setup the Environment Variables.

What are the best free C++ compilers for Windows 11?

Visual Studio code extension compiler – Most popular

free c++ compiler for Windows 11

With the Microsoft Visual C++ compiler and VS 2022, you can design and create Universal Windows apps or Standard Windows desktop applications for PC, Surface Hub, HoloLens, and Xbox.

It allows you to remotely access a codebase and perform any coding or edits. Its compiler, which is one of the most effective, is what makes it unique. However, you will need to install an extension to make it function.

You’ll also be able to manage code written for Linux using Clang, GCC, or another compiler with the help of advanced debugging and coding tools. With GDB, you can debug Linux programs while they are running remotely.

Additional features:

  • Debugging and diagnostics
  • Productivity features
  • Mobile development support

Get Visual Studio code extension compiler

Eclipse C++ Compiler – For veteran developers

free c++ compiler for Windows 11

Eclipse is one of the most popular integrated development environments for C and C++. The program is based on an Eclipse platform and comes with a powerful C++ compiler.

It provides a managed structure that helps project development activities. There are various tools that may be used to work with source code. Browsers for macro definitions, folding, and grading are just a few examples.

It operates on a variety of operating systems, including Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. The graphical user interface is fantastic, and it allows you to drag and drop pieces to arrange them.

Additional features:

  • UI monitoring
  • C/C++ launching
  • JDT improvements

Get Eclipse C++ Compiler

CodeLite IDE and compiler – Open-source and free

free c++ compiler for Windows 11

The IDE is open source and free, and PHP,  C, C++, and JavaScript are among the supported languages.

It is mainly intended for use with Node.js. It’s compatible with Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux, and, of course, it has a superb C++ converter.

Bookmarks may also be created, and quick debugging operations can be performed. By changing the tool’s options, you may have it show line numbers.

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The tool also has auto-complete, and when saving files, the program streamlines the available lines. Bookmarks and hotkeys may be changed and assigned. Colors and fonts for the backdrop may also be changed.

Additional features:

  • Full Rust support
  • Lightweight
  • Clang/GCC

Get CodeLite IDE and compiler

Qt Creator C++ IDE and compiler – Great cross-platform support

free c++ compiler for Windows 11

The QT Creator is an excellent IDE. It has a great and swift compiler, making it a practical option for an IDE. This cross-platform IDE comes with a cutting-edge C++ code editor.

A forms designer, a GUI designer, navigation tools, and other features are included in the package. Its  APIs and libraries are very popular among programmers. They’re simple to use, thorough, and adequately documented.

It comes with a comprehensive collection of tools. These tools are used to construct a UI and an application. They may then be used on mobile and desktop OS and other platforms.

The most pleasing thing is that it has an intuitive and responsive UI.  In the code editor, autocompletion and syntax highlighting are available. In addition, it includes profiling and visual debugging capabilities and drag-and-drop UI development.

Additional features:

  • User Interface compiler
  • D-Bus viewer
  • Distance field generator manual

Get Qt Creator C++ IDE and compiler

Dev C++ compiler – Minimalistic and simple to use

free c++ compiler for Windows 11

This IDE supports C++ and other C++ languages. It utilizes the GCC Mingw port as a compiler. Consoles and graphical user interfaces are produced as local executables. Cygwin may also be used in conjunction with Dev-C++.

Rather than complex programming capabilities, this application has many fundamental programming features. It’s straightforward to set up, so you may start using it immediately with all its choices nicely organized.

The program can produce and modify a range of standard source file types. The utility may also be used to handle header files. Resource scripts, .RC, in particular, may also be used.

Additional features:

  • Syntax highlighting
  • GPROF profiling
  • Devpak IDE extensions

Get Dev C++ compiler

How do compilers work?

The techniques used by different compilers for analyzing source code and transforming it into output code differ. Regardless of their variances, they usually follow the same steps and this holds true even for C++ online compilers:

  • Lexical analysis: It divides your input code into bits of lexemes. These are little code chunks that reflect certain patterns. After that, the fragments are tokenized to do syntactic and semantic analysis.
  • Syntax analysis: According to the rules for the input code, the compiler ensures that there is a correct code syntax. Typically, abstract syntax trees are constructed to reflect the conceptual frameworks of particular code parts during this stage.
  • Semantic analysis: The compiler analyzes to ensure that the logic of the code is correct. This stage is more than a syntax analysis. For example, the analysis examines if variable types are properly assigned here.
  • IR code generation: IR stands for Intermediate Representation. When the code is passed through this stage, the format is changed. And the new format must match all the functionality of the old one. 
  • Optimization: The IR code is optimized to prepare for the final code’s output. The compiler determines what kind of optimization is required and how much of it should be applied.  

C++ is a very powerful language, and now you have the best tools at your disposal to compile your code. It is also an easy language to learn, and by using some of the best C++ learning software, you will be compiling your applications in no time.

You must note that this list is made in no particular order but includes the best free Windows 11 compilers.

Also, remember that every C++ compiler download must be done on the official site of the manufacturers to avoid introducing malware to your PC.

Be sure to let us know your experience using any of these tools.

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