Open Folder in Visual Studio Code and write a C++ program

  1. Close Visual Studio Code if it’s currently open. Then Launch Visual Studio Code. Choose File -> Open Folder…
  2. Create a brand new folder at any location of your choosing. In this example, the new folder will be called coding.
  3. In the main VS Code editor, click on File -> New File, and then press Ctrl+S to save it as “code.cpp”.
  4. Install C++ extension for VS Code.

Set compilerPath

  1. Press Ctrl+Shift+P, start typing “C/C++” and then choose Edit Configurations (JSON) from the list of suggestions. VS Code creates a file called c_cpp_properties.json and populates it with default settings.
  2. Find the compilerPath setting and paste in the full path name of g++.exe in the Mingw-w64 bin folder you have just appended to the Path variable. (C:\\Mingw-w64\\mingw32\\bin\\g++.exe, notice how you have to do double “\” due to json convention)
  3. Set intelliSenseMode to gcc-x64.
  4. Your c_cpp_properties.json file should look like this:
    "configurations": [
            "name": "Win32",
            "includePath": [
            "defines": [
            "windowsSdkVersion": "10.0.17763.0",
            "compilerPath": "C:\\Mingw-w64\\mingw32\\bin\\g++.exe",
            "cStandard": "c11",
            "cppStandard": "c++17",
            "intelliSenseMode": "gcc-x64"
    "version": 4

Create a build task

  1. Next, Press Ctrl+Shift+P again and start typing “task” and choose Tasks: Configure Default Build Task from the list of suggestions, then choose Create tasks.json file from template. Then choose MSBuild. VS Code creates a default tasks.json file in the editor.
  2. Find the command setting and change it to g++.
  3. Change args setting to [ "-g", "-o", "a.exe", "code.cpp"]
  4. Your tasks.json should look like this:
    "version": "2.0.0",
    "tasks": [
            "label": "build",
            "type": "shell",
            "command": "g++",
            "args": ["-g", "-o", "a.exe", "code.cpp"],
            "group": "build",
            "presentation": {
                "reveal": "silent"
            "problemMatcher": "$msCompile"

Configure debug settings

Next, we’ll configure VS Code so that it launches the gdb debugger properly.
  1. Click Debug -> Open Configurations, and then choose C++ (GDB/LLDB) from the list of suggestions. VS Code creates a default launch.json file in the editor.
  2. Find the program setting and delete everything except for the last part ${workspaceFolder}/a.exe.
  3. Find the miDebuggerPath and point it to the gdb file in your Mingw-w64 bin folder, i.e. C:\\Mingw-w64\\mingw32\\bin\gdb.exe
  4. Your complete launch.json file should look like this:
   "version": "0.2.0",
    "configurations": [
            "name": "(gdb) Launch",
            "type": "cppdbg",
            "request": "launch",
            "program": "${workspaceFolder}/a.exe",
            "args": [],
            "stopAtEntry": false,
            "cwd": "${workspaceFolder}",
            "environment": [],
            "externalConsole": false,
            "MIMode": "gdb",
            "miDebuggerPath": "C:\\Mingw-w64\\mingw32\\bin\\gdb.exe",
            "setupCommands": [
                    "description": "Enable pretty-printing for gdb",
                    "text": "-enable-pretty-printing",
                    "ignoreFailures": true

Set breakpoint and debug

  1. Go to code.cpp in the editor, write your C++ program and Press Ctrl+Shift+B and then Enter to compile.
  2. Then set a break point and Press F5 to debug.

Additional bonus settings

  1. After any changes to source code, always remember to Ctrl+Shift+B to build before you run debug. If you want F5 to always rebuild the code by default, insert this right below the line of program setting in the launch.json file.
    "preLaunchTask": "build",
  2. Ideally you want the debug output to be on a separate console. In launch.json, find externalConsole setting and change it to true.
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