How to customize the ‘which’ command of Cygwin to display paths in Windows’ style

This post explains how to customize the which command in Cygwin to print Windows-style paths.

The which command in UNIX shows the full path of (shell) commands. That is, it displays the locations of the executables.

The built-in which command in Cygwin displays the path in UNIX-style.

>which cmd.exe

To convert a path from UNIX-style to Windows-style or vice-versa, the cygpath command of Cygwin can be used.

>cygpath -w /cygdrive/c/Windows/system32/cmd.exe

If we want the which command to always display the paths in Windows style (without explicitly using cygpath every time) we can create a custom function in .bashrc file. The steps are as follows:

1. Start Cygwin command-line interface

2. Edit the ~/.bashrc file

>vi ~/.bashrc

3. Add the following lines in the .bashrc file

function which() {
cygpath -w $(/usr/bin/which $1)

This creates a custom function with the name which. The custom function calls the built-in which command and feed its output to the cygpath command. The -w option instructs the cygpath command to display the path in Windows’ style.

4. Save the modified .bashrc file and re-start the Cygwin command-line interface.

Now, the command which will actually call the custom function that we defined (instead of the built-in command) and display the paths in Windows’ style.

>which cmd.exe

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