odd behavior of symlinks (aka cygwin-created shortcuts) on Win XP SP2

Jeff.Hodges@KingsMountain.com Jeff.Hodges@KingsMountain.com
Thu Jan 13 19:48:00 GMT 2005

I've searched this list and googled and all, and can't find anything about 
this issue, so perhaps it's some cockpit error on my part. Anyways, here's the 

  cygwin symlinks (aka cygwin-created windows shortcuts) seem to work 
  differently, and incorrectly, from the windows perspective, on Win XP SP2
  than they did on (say) Win 2000 Pro. 

On Win2k, I got into the habit of creating many of my symlinks/shortcuts via 
Cygwin ("ln -s" of course) because then they were available, and worked 
correctly, from both the Cygwin and windows perspectives.

Mostly these are symlinks to directories which I use to more conveniently 
traipse around my filesystem. This was true of all my cygwin install/upgrades 
on Win2k from say 1999 thru 2004. The native Win filesystem has been NTFS in 
all cases, fwiw.

However, now on Win XP SP2 (professional) -- I moved to XP SP2 from Win2k in 
Nov-2004 -- I notice the following behavior with both existing 
symlinks/shortcuts copied over to XP from my Win2k box and with new symlinks 
I've created with my newly-upgraded (27-Dec-2004) cygwin install (on XP)...

1. cygwin-created (via "ln -s") symlinks/shortcuts pointing to a directory are 
displayed in windows file dialogs with the windows default "funky file" icon 
(I dunno what it's actual name is) rather than the windows folder icon as used 
to be the case on win2k/cygwin.

2. cygwin-created (via "ln -s") symlinks/shortcuts pointing to a directory are 
displayed in some windows file-open or file-save dialogs, but not in others. 
On win2k/cygwin, they were always displayed and always behaved exactly like 
windows-created shortcuts pointing to a directory. In terms of how they are 
behaving on WinXP/cygwin..

2.1. In the cases where they *are* displayed in windows file-open or file-save 
dialogs, e.g. using windows version of OpenOffice 1.1.3, the program in 
question attempts to either open the symlink/shortcut file itself or overwrite 
it, respectively.

2.2. In the cases where they "are not* displayed in the windows dialog 
(whether open or save), e.g. as done by Firefox 1.0 in the file-save case, 
well, the symlink/shortcut simply isn't listed in the dialog, when on 
win2k/cygwin they were displayed (and behaved) just fine.

I suspect either there's some cockpit error I've committed (or am committing) 
either or both on the Win XP side or the Cygwin side, OR, there's something 
different with Win XP SP2 wrt shortcuts that's causing this.

I do have a symlink or two that I'd created on win2k/cygwin that I copied over 
to the WinXP/cygwin machine (as a part of a  copied-over filesystem subtree) 
that behaves (on XP) as it did on win2k. Yet there are other 
symlinks/shortcuts in the same filesystem subtree that now work incorrectly.

Has anyone else noticed this behavior? 



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