odd behavior of symlinks on Win XP SP2

Jeff.Hodges@KingsMountain.com Jeff.Hodges@KingsMountain.com
Sat Jan 15 23:18:00 GMT 2005

Thanks for looking at this Igor. Glad to know it isn't just me. 

pechtcha@cs.nyu.edu said:
>  And, lo and behold, on a plain WinXP SP1 (note, no SP2) I get the
> same behavior.

aha. innaresting. Well, I installed vanilla XP and then copied over a buncha 
directories from my old Win2k box, including \cygwin, and didn't play with it 
much before I upgraded to SP2. So I didn't really note anything while it was 

> Perhaps an update to Cygwin's symlink() implementation is in order? 

that's what I'm thinking.

corinna-cygwin@cygwin.com said:
> 2001.  The shortcuts have been added to Cygwin in 2001. 

ah, ok. I guess I didn't really start playing/using Cygwin in somewhat ernest 
until around then anyway.

corinna-cygwin@cygwin.com said:
> And it doesn't really fail.  The shortcut is still a shortcut in
> Windows Explorer.

Well, I claim that it *does* "really fail" because they (cygwin-created 
shortcut/symlinks) no longer -- on XP as compared to Win2k -- behave as they 
did. One uses file open/save dialogs very often when using windoze and on XP 
the cygwin-created shortcut/symlinks no longer behave as-documented (or 
as-in-an-explorer-window). So they don't "fail in all use cases", rather they 
"fail in some often-exercised use cases".

Seems to me we ought to see if we can't update the symlink() impl such that 
this is addressed. I'm betting there's some new attributes or whatever (as 
Igor notes) that've been added to symlinks in XP and if we can figure out what 
that is, and figure out what the minimum is we need to change in our 
cygwin-created .lnk files, we can perhaps (likely?) fix this without adversely 
affecting performance. Maybe there's some new system call on XP that we can 
use to create these buggers (if we're lucky)? After all, AFAIK, all cygwin 
cares about is the cygwin path being in the .lnk file's "comment" 
attribute/field, yes?

thanks again for looking into this,


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