Programming language: C++
License: GNU General Public License v3.0 only
Tags: C++11     Windows     Linux     Static Analysis    
Latest version: v2.3

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About the name

The original name of this program was "C++check", but it was later changed to "Cppcheck".

Despite the name, Cppcheck is designed for both C and C++.


A manual is available online.

Donate CPU

Cppcheck is a hobby project with limited resources. You can help us by donating CPU (1 core or as many as you like). It is simple:

  1. Download (and extract) Cppcheck source code.
  2. Run script: python cppcheck/tools/donate-cpu.py.

The script will analyse debian source code and upload the results to a cppcheck server. We need these results both to improve Cppcheck and to detect regressions.

You can stop the script whenever you like with Ctrl C.


Any C++11 compiler should work. For compilers with partial C++11 support it may work. If your compiler has the C++11 features that are available in Visual Studio 2013 / GCC 4.8 then it will work.

To build the GUI, you need Qt.

When building the command line tool, PCRE is optional. It is used if you build with rules.

There are multiple compilation choices:

  • qmake - cross platform build tool
  • cmake - cross platform build tool
  • Windows: Visual Studio (VS 2013 and above)
  • Windows: Qt Creator + mingw
  • gnu make
  • g++ 4.8 (or later)
  • clang++


Example, compiling Cppcheck with cmake:

mkdir build
cd build
cmake ..
cmake --build .

If you want to compile the GUI you can use the flag. -DBUILD_GUI=ON

For rules support (requires pcre) use the flag. -DHAVE_RULES=ON

For release builds it is recommended that you use: -DUSE_MATCHCOMPILER=ON

Using cmake you can generate project files for Visual Studio,XCode,etc.


You can use the gui/gui.pro file to build the GUI.

cd gui

Visual Studio

Use the cppcheck.sln file. The file is configured for Visual Studio 2019, but the platform toolset can be changed easily to older or newer versions. The solution contains platform targets for both x86 and x64.

To compile with rules, select "Release-PCRE" or "Debug-PCRE" configuration. pcre.lib (pcre64.lib for x64 builds) and pcre.h are expected to be in /externals then. A current version of PCRE for Visual Studio can be obtained using vcpkg.

Visual Studio (from command line)

If you do not wish to use the Visual Studio IDE, you can compile cppcheck from the command line the following command.

msbuild cppcheck.sln

VS Code (on Windows)

Install MSYS2 to get GNU toolchain with g++ and gdb (https://www.msys2.org/). Create a settings.json file in the .vscode folder with the following content (adjust path as necessary):

    "terminal.integrated.shell.windows": "C:\\msys64\\usr\\bin\\bash.exe",
    "terminal.integrated.shellArgs.windows": [
    "terminal.integrated.env.windows": {
        "CHERE_INVOKING": "1",
        "MSYSTEM": "MINGW64",

Run "make" in the terminal to build cppcheck.

For debugging create a launch.json file in the .vscode folder with the following content, which covers configuration for debugging cppcheck and misra.py:

    // Use IntelliSense to learn about possible attributes.
    // Hover to view descriptions of existing attributes.
    // For more information, visit: https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=830387
    "version": "0.2.0",
    "configurations": [
            "name": "cppcheck",
            "type": "cppdbg",
            "request": "launch",
            "program": "${workspaceFolder}/cppcheck.exe",
            "args": [
            "stopAtEntry": false,
            "cwd": "${workspaceFolder}",
            "environment": [],
            "externalConsole": true,
            "MIMode": "gdb",
            "miDebuggerPath": "C:/msys64/mingw64/bin/gdb.exe",
            "setupCommands": [
                    "description": "Enable pretty-printing for gdb",
                    "text": "-enable-pretty-printing",
                    "ignoreFailures": true
            "name": "misra.py",
            "type": "python",
            "request": "launch",
            "program": "${workspaceFolder}/addons/misra.py",
            "console": "integratedTerminal",
            "args": [

Qt Creator + MinGW

The PCRE dll is needed to build the CLI. It can be downloaded here: http://software-download.name/pcre-library-windows/

GNU make

Simple, unoptimized build (no dependencies):


The recommended release build is:

make MATCHCOMPILER=yes FILESDIR=/usr/share/cppcheck HAVE_RULES=yes CXXFLAGS="-O2 -DNDEBUG -Wall -Wno-sign-compare -Wno-unused-function"


  1. MATCHCOMPILER=yes Python is used to optimise cppcheck. The Token::Match patterns are converted into C++ code at compile time.

  2. FILESDIR=/usr/share/cppcheck Specify folder where cppcheck files are installed (addons, cfg, platform)

  3. HAVE_RULES=yes Enable rules (PCRE is required if this is used)

  4. CXXFLAGS="-O2 -DNDEBUG -Wall -Wno-sign-compare -Wno-unused-function" Enables most compiler optimizations, disables cppcheck-internal debugging code and enables basic compiler warnings.

g++ (for experts)

If you just want to build Cppcheck without dependencies then you can use this command:

g++ -o cppcheck -std=c++11 -Iexternals -Iexternals/simplecpp -Iexternals/tinyxml2 -Iexternals/picojson -Ilib cli/*.cpp lib/*.cpp externals/simplecpp/simplecpp.cpp externals/tinyxml2/*.cpp

If you want to use --rule and --rule-file then dependencies are needed:

g++ -o cppcheck -std=c++11 -lpcre -DHAVE_RULES -Ilib -Iexternals -Iexternals/simplecpp -Iexternals/tinyxml2 cli/*.cpp lib/*.cpp externals/simplecpp/simplecpp.cpp externals/tinyxml2/*.cpp



If you encounter the following error with MATCHCOMPILER=yes you need to specify your Python interpreter via PYTHON_INTERPRETER.

process_begin: CreateProcess(NULL, which python3, ...) failed.
makefile:24: pipe: No error
process_begin: CreateProcess(NULL, which python, ...) failed.
makefile:27: pipe: No error
makefile:30: *** Did not find a Python interpreter.  Stop.

Other Compiler/IDE

  1. Create an empty project file / makefile.
  2. Add all cpp files in the cppcheck cli and lib folders to the project file / makefile.
  3. Add all cpp files in the externals folders to the project file / makefile.
  4. Compile.

Cross compiling Win32 (CLI) version of Cppcheck in Linux

sudo apt-get install mingw32
make CXX=i586-mingw32msvc-g++ LDFLAGS="-lshlwapi" RDYNAMIC=""
mv cppcheck cppcheck.exe


You can install Cppcheck with yum/apt/brew/etc.

The official rpms are built with these files: https://src.fedoraproject.org/rpms/cppcheck/tree/master



*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the Cppcheck README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.