Mintty Weirdness

I use Cygwin to emulate a Unix-like terminal on Windows. Even though Cygwin is pretty good in emulating Unix terminal, its UI leaves a lot to be desired for, so I decided to use Mintty on top of Cygwin. Mintty not only looks nicer than Cygwin but it also has some useful features like easy copy/paste, drop & drop of text files and so on.

I installed Mintty through the usual Cygwin package installation process and I saw that it put mintty.exe file under cygwin’s bin folder. When I tried to run Mintty by invoking mintty.exe from Cygwin, it worked fine. Pretty soon, I was changing the terminal properties and making Mintty look like I wanted. So far so good.

The problem started when I created a shortcut to launch Mintty from Windows Start page. I wanted this shortcut to launch Mintty on Cygwin by default. When I clicked on the shortcut, none of the normal Unix commands would work, I would get a “command not found” error from bash. After Googling for a while and some random experiments, I found out that I had to go to shortcut’s properties and change its target to add a dash at the end. So my shortcut’s target is “C:\cygwin64\bin\mintty.exe -”

Don’t know or care why I have to do this but I wish developers put more thought in the first time use experience of their applications/libraries/packages.

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