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Re: SegFault running "ls -l" after Microsoft Patch Day

Hi Rainer,

On Dec 15 20:29, Dr Rainer Woitok wrote:
> Corinna,
> On Monday, 2015-12-14 15:05:32 +0100, you wrote:
> > > find: './System Volume Information': Permission denied
> > 
> > This is normal if you don't run your shell elevated.  Try again in an
> > elevated shell.
> Hm.  I have several  NTFS formatted USB sticks  and a script which keeps
> them up  to date by  -- among other things --  running a  "find" command
> against their mount points.   Until Tuesday this script never complained
> about a "./System Volume Information" directory,  but since Wednesday it
> does.  If you are saying complaints regarding protected system files are
> normal for an  unprivileged Cygwin user,  one of these patches must have
> freshly created these directories on Wednesday when I plugged in the USB
> sticks.  At least the modification dates of the "./System Volume Inform-
> ation/" directories on these USB sticks do not contradict this theory.

That's ok.  Given the nature of this folder the OS will create it if
it thinks it needs it.

> I'll try to remove these directories  on the USB sticks  as soon as this
> issue is solved somehow.

Ultimately the OS will probably recreate the dir at one point depending
on your system settings.

>    Since my "/etc/passwd" file
> uses more Unix like names even for the typical Windows accounts,

Which doesn't make much sense from my POV, but, anyway.  As long as the
entries are correct.

> I then
> ran these commands  with an additional  "-n" option to produce less con-
> fusing listings, ... and low and behold,  now all five commands succeed-
> ed in BOTH, the privileged and the unprivileged shell!
> I then  inspected my  "/etc/passwd" file and  removed the last line from
> it, which I had added long ago to fight the "Unknown+User" and "Unknown+
> Group" entries in the "ls -l" output:
>    other:*:4294967295:4294967295:::


> Now all five commands above succeed for the privileged user (though with
> an ouput cluttered with "Unknown+*" entries :-), and at least the normal
> "ls -l /C" command  now also succeeds  for the  unprivileged user, while
> the other four "ls -ld" commands are still segfaulting.  Finally, I also
> removed the corresponding line
>    other:*:4294967295:

Ouch, ouch!

I'm probably not paranoid enough for this job.  The above are invalid
passwd and group entries.  passwd and group files *main* job is to map
a Windows SID to a Cygwin uid/gid. 

Apart from the obvious fact that both files are not required anymore,
the above entries will lead to an invalid SID stored for an account
called "other".

The questions you should ask yourself: Why are there SIDs unknown to
Cygwin, despite Cygwin fetching account info directly from Windows?

Apart from the explanation in,
there are files in the top level directory of your drive way which
disallow non-admin users to read the file's security information, thus
Cygwin can't fetch the owner and group SIDs, thus the SIDs are

However, start the shell elevated and you'll see that most of the files
are owned by "SYSTEM" or "TrustedInstaller".  Only pagefile.sys,
swapfile.sys and (I think) hiberfile.sys are locked exclusively by the
OS, so even an admin user can't read the security descriptor.

The bottom line is, by adding the aforementioned entries to /etc/passwd
and /etc/group you not only create invalid passwd and group entries
which only work by happenstance, you also hide the *real* information
from yourself, even if you're running an elevated shell.

To me this sounds like a bad idea.  Personally I rather see what's
really there.

> from my "/etc/group" file  and -- you guessed it -- now everything works
> in both, elevated and normal shell.  Sigh.


> What is still missing  is some sort  of explanation.   How can a Windows
> patch cause these  two lines in  files "/etc/passwd" and "/etc/group" to
> fail working,  and why is the  effect different,  depending on privilege
> status?   (Remember:  I first applied  Windows patches,  then I ran into
> problems, and finally I updated Cygwin).

Well, *shrug*.

> > ...
> > > $ ls -lF /C
> > > Segmentation fault (core dumped)
> > > $
> > 
> > I can't reproduce this one.
> Perhaps you can now with this additional information :-)

Yes.  The OS function RtlCopySid crashes trying to read an invalid SID
structure.  I applied a fix and uploaded a new developer snapshot to and created a new test release 2.4.0-0.11
for testing.  Please give any of them a try.


Corinna Vinschen                  Please, send mails regarding Cygwin to
Cygwin Maintainer                 cygwin AT cygwin DOT com
Red Hat

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