cat.exe failing silently with exit status 3

Mark Geisert
Wed Mar 27 04:21:00 GMT 2019

Chris Wagner wrote:
> Hi all.  A few days ago I noticed that cat.exe was failing without printing any
> output or errors and exiting with status 3.  I tried rebooting, updating my
> Cygwin, even a fresh install of Base only.  I removed all recently installed
> Windows software and nothing changed.  What's truly strange is that it seems to
> be only cat that is broken.  Hilariously tac works fine.  I can even emulate cat
> with "tac foo |tac".
> Whatever changed, Cygwin, coreutils, or Windows, I can't narrow it down.  I'm on
> Windows 7 SP1 and my Cygwin is up to date (3.0.4-1).  Coreutils is 8.26-2.
> I launched cat with strace and it always ends with:
> --- Process 3928, exception c0000005 at 0000000000000000
> --- Process 3928 thread 10476 exited with status 0xc0000001
> --- Process 3928 exited with status 0xc0000001
> The output is vastly truncated compared to what tac shows.  The thread dies
> immediately instead of loading the environment, etc.
> I attached the strace output of cat and tac along with the sysinfo and cygcheck
> output.  I hope this is just something simple overlooked in the latest version
> of cat.

Hi Chris,
This bit of text from your strace...

   Couldn't compute FAST_CWD pointer.  This typically occurs if you're using
   an older Cygwin version on a newer Windows.  Please update to the latest
   available Cygwin version from  If the problem persists,
   please see

...shows that somehow you're involving an old cygwin1.dll version.  For just 
'cat', which is indeed puzzling.  Check your PATH variable to make sure you 
don't have some other environment (containing an old Cygwin) that supplies cat 
before Cygwin's cat.  Maybe also do 'cygcheck -svr' and see whether it finds 
more than one Cygwin installation on your system.  Do you have an alias for 
'cat' that does something complicating?


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