chmod failed: Invalid argument

Corinna Vinschen
Mon Feb 8 14:29:00 GMT 2016

On Jan 31 21:24, Rainer Blome wrote:
> On 28.01.2016 21:40, Corinna Vinschen wrote:
> >>> On a hunch, do you have old /etc/passwd and /etc/group files by
> >>> any chance?  Does moving them out of /etc (don't delete them for
> >>> now!), exiting from Cygwin and starting a new shell somehow fix
> >>> things for you? How do the files look like?
> >> 
> >> Define "old"! ;-) Yes, I do. There is no `/etc/group`, but 
> >> `/etc/passwd` defines the group ID of my user as 213 (the real ID
> >> is a bit different, to be honest, but I do not think that 
> >> matters.)
> The real group ID is 513, by the way. On a Cygwin 2.3.1 on a different
> machine, `/etc/passwd` also has 513 in the group column of all users.
> Yet, when I ask for `id`, I get something like this (translated):
>  uid=197609(username) gid=197121(None) \
>   Groups=197121(None),545(Users),...

These values make sense.

> > Ouch, that may be the reason.  I have to check that but your passwd
> > and group files are
> > 
> > 1) Not required anymore, see 
> >, and
> Well, I do not use Active Directory, and I try to maintain a stable
> home directory across new machines, drives or Windows reinstalls,
> so I specify this directory in `/etc/passwd`. Since it is small,
> I see no harm in using this method.
> On my Cygwin 2.4.1, to get things to run the way I want them, I
> renamed `/etc/passwd.renamed` back to `/etc/passwd`, and replaced
> the old group id by the ID of group "None", 197121.
> In a new terminal, things now run as expected, SSH finds its .ssh
> directory and `chmod` etc. work the way that they should.
> > 2) *iff* they are there, there's good reason to have them in a good
> > working shape.
> No doubt. So what kind of maintenance do these files need?
> Should I have known that they do?

They should match.  For instance, one problem is if your passwd entry
contains a gid not available in either the Windows user DB or /etc/group.

> > Thanks for *your* help.  I expect there are still a few problems in
> > that code since not even a multi-month testphase finds all problems.
> I am curious what change triggered the issue, can you point me to a
> commit or change-log entry?

Not a single one.  It's probably related to the new ACL handling but
knowing it more specificially requires debugging.


Corinna Vinschen                  Please, send mails regarding Cygwin to
Cygwin Maintainer                 cygwin AT cygwin DOT com
Red Hat
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 819 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <>

More information about the Cygwin mailing list