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XWin Server doesn't start reliably under Windows 10 Creator's Update

A few people on this list have reported problems with XWin Server not
starting reliably from the Start menu, particularly after recent
updates. I've found this too, and I think I have a reasonable fix for

There seems to be an incompatibility with recent versions of the XWin
server launcher shortcut and Windows 10 Creator's Update. What seems to
be happening is that the launcher doesn't wait for the server to start,
and when the launcher exits the server dies before it has a chance to get
itself running properly. Nothing gets logged when it fails, which makes it
tricky to diagnose this problem when it happens (which is frequently!).
I found a few tweaks to the shortcut target script to keep run.exe from
exiting prematurely and killing the server.

The trick is to find the launcher shortcut and make two simple changes
to the one-line script in the shortcut's target. Click on Windows 10's
start menu, navigate to the Cygwin-X folder, click on it, then
right-click on the "XWin Server" icon, select "More...", and click on
"Open file location". In the folder that opens, right-click on the "XWin
Server" icon in there, and select "Properties".

In the Properties window, find the Target field. It should have the
command line:

C:\cygwin\bin\run.exe --quote /usr/bin/bash.exe -l -c "cd; exec /usr/bin/startxwin"

Change it to:

C:\cygwin\bin\run.exe --wait --quote /usr/bin/bash.exe -l -c "cd; exec /usr/bin/startxwin &"

i.e. add the --wait option to the run.exe command, and add the "&" sign
to the end of the startxwin command. This changes the stage at which
startxwin goes into the background, and seems to work reliably under
Creator's Update. Ultimately, this may be down to a problem with how
run.exe works (or doesn't) under recent Windows 10 systems, but this
workaround has worked for me.

When you save this change, Windows will require admin. privileges, which
is easy if you have an admin. account, but I expect with a limited
account you'll just have to provide the username & password for an
admin. user.

If you also have a Desktop icon for XWin Server, change it the same way,
by right-clicking on the icon and selecting Properties.

Finally, if you also pinned the icon to the taskbar, you can just unpin
it and re-pin it from the updated Start menu entry.

Hopefully the maintainers can find a more permanent solution to this, or
at least implement this tweak in the xorg-server package.

Gilles Detillieux
Spinal Cord Research Centre
Dept. of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences,
Univ. of Manitoba,  Winnipeg, MB

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