It is recommended that most users download the binary distribution for Windows, available as a one-click installer package from the PostgreSQL website. Building from source is only intended for people developing PostgreSQL or extensions.
There are several different ways of building PostgreSQL on Windows. The simplest way to build with Microsoft tools is to install a modern version of the Microsoft Platform SDK and use use the included compiler. It is also possible to build with the full Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 or 2008. In some cases that requires the installation of the Platform SDK in addition to the compiler.
It is also possible to build PostgreSQL using the GNU compiler tools provided by MinGW, or using Cygwin for older versions of Windows.
Finally, the client access library (libpq) can be built using Visual C++ 7.1 or Borland C++ for compatibility with statically linked applications built using these tools.
Building using MinGW or Cygwin uses the normal build system, see Chapter 15 and the specific notes in Section 15.8.5 and Section 15.8.2. These builds cannot generate 64-bit binaries. Cygwin is not recommended and should only be used for older versions of Windows where the native build does not work, such as Windows 98. MinGW is only recommended if you are building other modules using it. The official binaries are built using Visual Studio.