Step 2: Install a Compiler and Assembler

Objective: Install MinGW and NASM to compile an .asm file and then create an .exe executable.

2.1: Install a GCC compiler

We will use MinGW to compile our assembly projects

  1. Find the installer on MinGW’s site or download it from this site directly.

  2. Note the default the installation directory and then press Continue.


    • MinGW might not work correctly if you install it in another directory other than the default.

    • So, we recommend using the default installation directory.


  3. The installer will download and install MinGW.

  4. Verify that the installer downloaded and installed all selected items.


  5. Select mingw32-base-bin and apply changes.

    • From the menu: Installation Apply Changes

    • The installer might take a while depending on your internet connection.



  6. Press the Close button when the packages finish downloading.


  7. Verify that ming32-base-bin installed.


  8. You can now close the installer window.

2.2: Download Netwide Assembler (NASM)

We will use the Netwide Assembler (NASM) for this class. You can read more information about NSAM from

  1. Find the installer on NASM’s site or download the Windows 10 x64 version from this site directly.

  2. Execute the installer as an administrator


    You will need to execute the installer as Administrator if your logged in user cannot write to C:\MinGW\bin.


  3. Install to C:\MinGW\bin


    It is easiest to set up if you install it to the same directory as the GCC compiler. Otherwise, you have to add the systems paths for both applications.


Part 3: Set the path to the assembler

Windows needs to know where to find gcc.exe and nasm.exe, which it will do by setting the path=C:\MinGW\bin;%path%

First, we’ll verify that Windows recognizes gcc and nasm using the command line. Then, we’ll set the path as part of the system path.

Verify the programs execute in CMD


This path is set ONLY for this CMD instance. You have to run the command again when you close the CMD window. Or, you can specify the absolute path to the file.

You can add it permanently the System Environment Variables.

  1. Open up Command Prompt (CMD)

  2. Set the temporary path by executing: path=C:\MinGW\bin;%path%

  3. Verify the path set correctly

  4. Type: echo %path% image9

  5. Type: gcc --version Verify that it displays the file version. image10

  6. Type: nasm --version Verify that it displays the file version. image11


If you get a not recognized error, then the path is not set correctly or you installed MinGW or NASM in a different directory.


  1. Try executing it using the full path: C:\MinGW\bin\gcc --version

  2. Verify the installation path: dir C:\MinGW\bin

Set path in Windows System


  • Set the path to your assembler and compiler in the Windows path so that all applications can find it.

  • Otherwise, you have to specify the full path to the applications.

  1. Open the Advanced System Properties in Windows. There are several ways:

    1. Copy and paste one of these commands to Windows Explorer or Start Menu

      • Advanced System Settings

      • C:\Windows\System32\SystemPropertiesAdvanced.exe

    2. Navigate from the control panel: Control Panel > System and Security > System


  2. Click on the Environment Variables button


  3. Select Path under User variables and then click on the Edit button


  4. Click on New and then add a variable for the bin folder of NASM and GCC: C:\MinGW\bin


    You must add both paths if you installed NASM in a different folder.


  5. Press OK on all windows

  6. Close and reopen the CMD windows to get a new prompt.

  7. Verify that the NASM and GCC display the versions correctly before continuing.