[PATCH 1/2] Treat Windows Store's "app execution aliases" as symbolic links

Johannes Schindelin Johannes.Schindelin@gmx.de
Mon Mar 22 15:22:37 GMT 2021

Hi Hans-Bernhard,

On Mon, 15 Mar 2021, Hans-Bernhard Bröker wrote:

> Am 15.03.2021 um 04:19 schrieb Johannes Schindelin via Cygwin-patches:
> > On Sat, 13 Mar 2021, Joe Lowe wrote:
> >
> > > I agree on the usefulness to the user of showing appexec target
> > > executable as symlink target. But I am uncertain about the effect on
> > > code.
> >
> > Maybe. But I am concerned about the effect of not being able to do
> > anything useful with app execution aliases in the first place.
> That argument might hold more sway if Windows itself didn't quite so
> completely hide that information from users, too.

"So completely"? It at least executes them, and it does offer you to turn
them aliases on and off (see

Granted, the user interface has a lot of room for improvement, but if you
are dead set on finding out what, say, that `idle.exe` app execution alias
refers to, you can go to `Settings>Apps>Apps & features>App execution
aliases` and find out that it is owned by the Python 3.7 package. That
does not give you the path, but it does give you way more information than
you claimed Windows would offer to you.

> I found only one Windows native tool that will even show _any_ kind of
> information about these reparse points: fsutil.  That is a) only available as
> part of the highly optional WSL feature and b) only gives you a hexdump of the
> actual data, without any meaningful interpretation.

The `fsutil` program, contrary to your claim, is available without WSL:

And yes, for under-documented reparse points, the tool gives you only a

One of those under-documented reparse point types is the WSL symbolic
link, which you will notice are supported in Cygwin, removing quite some
sway from your argument...

> For something that Windows itself gives the "no user servicable parts inside"
> treatment to the extent it does for these reparse points, I rather doubt that
> Cygwin users really _need_ to see it.

Well, that's funny: you are talking to one Cygwin user who needs to see
it. So I feel a bit ignored by you there.


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