Speeding up Cygwin deployment

Vinod K Gupta vinod@Princeton.EDU
Sun Sep 24 22:27:00 GMT 2006

I  need to deploy cygwin and some addon software on about 100 Windows XP Pro machines in my department. It is taking about an hour to setup one machine. I thought of speeding up deployment by setting up one reference machine with all the packages customized to our needs, make a zip archive of C:\cygwin along with a couple of registry entries in cygwin.reg script and take it on a USB key to the target machine. It seems to be working except that I have not gained the anticipated speed, and thus this posting.

It took me only a minute to create a 180 MB archive from a 450 MB source using Windows builtin zipper (WinExplorer's Send to...zip) but unzipping on target is painfully slow (about 45 minutes). Yes, my anti-virus is temporarily turned off. I see that it is spending 90% of the time in those folders which have symlinks. In addition, there are some other interesting observations. To make the point clear I take example of two files:


Cygwin's ls lists both files as symlinks
WinExplorer lists allec.1 as shortcut and atobm.1.html as a normal file
DOS' dir does not list atobm.1.html at all.

I tried using stand-alone zip/unzip utilities from popular http://www.info-zip.org
"zip.exe -rq0! cygwin.zip cygwin" is blazingly fast to create archive (1 minute, great it allows no-compression option)

Unzipping by info-zip's unzip.exe was very fast (5 mins), preserved allec.1 as symlink but atobm.1.html was missing.

Unzipping by WinExplorer was slightly faster (still 30 mins!), preserved allec.1 as symlink but atobm.1.html was missing. 

So, the only thing that works is to use WinExplorer to zip and unzip but it does not serve the primary goal - deploy cygwin on 100 machines within 5-10 minutes per machine.

Any ideas?

Princeton University

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