Cygwin Part 2: DDRescue-GUI on Windows 10, sort of…

Hi everyone. Seeing as the last time I reviewed Cygwin, things didn’t go so well, I had to try again. It does work better on 64-but Windows, fortunately. Disclaimer: It was a bit glitchy here too, because Windows Defender was interfering with it, but Cygwin itself seems pretty reliable – the follow up is soon to come. Anyway:

Cygwin part 2 – I met with success. Eventually.

This post largely consists of a video, with a writeup. The video is highly edited to speed it all up, so don’t worry about watching me fix problems for ages 🙂

The writeup

First Impressions under Windows 10

This worked SO much better than in my 32-bit Windows 7 VM I used in part 1. It still isn’t perfect, because of antivirus and the laptop’s inability to run Windows 10 at an acceptable speed, but it was still far better than before.

Getting DDRescue-GUI Installed

This was fairly easy; all I had to do was download the “other linux distro” version from here, and put the files in the right place. Other than that, a bunch of dependencies were installed, and then I was ready for my first try.

But does it work?

Spoiler: yes, after a fashion :). All I had to do was disable bits of the program that won’t work under Cygwin, and we had the base for the GUI working much faster than I thought possible. There were some issues along the way, mostly to do with fork calls in Cygwin, but these issues seem to go away when run under Windows 8.1. I guess I’ll need to test on Windows 10 on a faster system.

Simply put, I disabled the getdevinfo module, notifications, and a call to pkexec when running ddrescue. That was essentially all that was needed! I have to say I thought this was going to be much harder, but I can’t complain. Then I restarted Cygwin with admin privileges (so I can read from devices directly), and successfully recovered some data from a test USB stick I keep around for system testing.

Why was it glitching out so much?

I’ve made this a major point, because to reiterate, this was my laptop’s/Windows 10’s fault, not Cygwin’s. All this stuff worked fine on Windows 8.1. I think it was because of Windows 10’s security settings interfering with Cygwin, together with antivirus software, or the laptop being slow. Essentially, the problem I was having was Cygwin kept reporting “resource temporarily unavailable” when I tried to start new processes in certain circumstances. Rebooting usually fixed the issue, but I will need to do some research to fix it properly.

Summary

This is great, and a major milestone in potential Windows support for DDRescue-GUI, bringing the power of GNU ddrescue to even more users! I just wish I hadn’t spent 6 hours attempting to compile wxPython before I realised there was a package… Anyway, there will be another quick few follow-ups on this. One of the next things to do is figure out how I might package this. You might question why I’m running the GUI in cygwin at all, and this is because ddrescue needs to be run under cygwin, so it makes sense to have it all bundled together, if possible. wxPython will run on native Windows, so I;m having some trouble figuring out how to do this, but it should be possible, so stay tuned!

Hamish

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About Hamish McIntyre-Bhatty

I'm currently studying for a Computing and IT degree with the Open University, and am a software developer as well. I enjoy coding in Python, C++ (still learning), and Java. Having written 4 open-source programs (hosted on launchpad.net), set up my own website, and started volunteering at Wimborne Model Town to work on their river control system, I still find the time to enjoy cycling, acting, photography, and playing bass guitar. I go climbing every now and then as well. As you may have guessed, I also enjoy blogging :)

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