Official Windows C/C++ Compiler and C Libraries

I've been coding C/C++ in a Linux environment, and that has been a breeze (Open terminal > Vim > code > gcc > done). I'm trying to get into doing the same in Windows, and it hasn't been nearly as easy. I've gotten Vim to run out of terminal, as I do not like IDEs, thus I'm looking for a Windows compiler that I can work with via command-line.

My problem is that I can't find the official Windows compiler for C/C++, Microsoft support was useless, and MSDN keeps pointing me to Visual Studio. There are a plethora of questions here on SO, and the web about compilers for C/C++ on Windows, with suggestions like Dev-C++, but that comes with GCC. Visual Studio supports C/C++, and I would assume that compiler is the official one, but I've had no luck in finding just the compiler. The closest I've gotten is either the Windows SDK or Visual Studio Express 2015.

Additionally, I was told in the Stackoverflow C chat room, that C is no longer a subset of C++, so does that mean I need to find 2 compilers, one for C and one for C++?

I'm also trying to figure out where C/C++ libraries are. On Linux, they're already there. Is that the case with Windows, if not where do I find their C/C++ libraries?

I didn't expect it to be so difficult to get started, nor did I expect to get lost so quickly.


  • Interestingly enough, I found an answer to the OP's question which I believe warrants a post rather than a comment.

    Microsoft does provide a stand-alone Visual C++ compiler in what they call 'build-tools'. You can get one here:


    (Look for Build Tools at the bottom of the page)