03 Jan 2014, 05:40

Patrick Lahey (5 posts)

Just curious if anyone has found a fix for the painfully slow backspace of busybox-w32? My son is a beginning typist and it makes correcting his mistakes quite frustrating.


03 Jan 2014, 17:31

Carl Cravens (8 posts)

To start with, I’m not seeing this on Win7 64-bit with the busybox recommended in the book:


I notice that a new version was compiled this morning (1/3), so you might try downloading again. (I tried the previous version, from August, and I didn’t have trouble with that either. So I haven’t been able to reproduce the problem.)

Make sure you’re up to date on Windows Update.

There have been issues with Cygwin-based shells in Win7 in the past. Try running busybox as administrator… if the speed problem goes away, then this is likely the problem you’re seeing.

Last I checked (and it’s been a few months) Cygwin doesn’t get along with Win7’s UAC Data Virtualization.

When an unprivileged user tries to write to a system folder, like C:\foo.log, Windows transparently redirects that call into the user’s personal folder. This deals with legacy or poorly written applications trying to save user data into a “system” folder.

One way to get around this is to run Busybox as administrator… not really a good idea, but it gets you by in a pinch on a personal box. I don’t think Busybox is trying to write somewhere it shouldn’t just that it runs poorly when UAC Data Virtualization is turned on.

If Busybox runs without it, you can turn off UAC entirely, but that has annoying side-effects and I don’t recommend it.

If it turns out that running as admin fixes the problem, I’ve got a couple links about coping with UAC Data Virtualization I can provide.

08 Jan 2014, 03:08

Patrick Lahey (5 posts)

Hi Carl,

thanks for looking into it. I’ve tried running as administrator and using the latest version but no luck - still painfully slow backspace.

At this point I have given up and am trying to beat cygwin into submission. I keep hitting annoyances but I have been able to work around them so far. Once I think I’ve got it licked I’ll post a write up in case others want to go that route.

08 Jan 2014, 14:56

Carl Cravens (8 posts)

Huh. So it’s not the UAC problem.

Might try a different build of Busybox to see if there’s a difference.

This seems to be the source of busybox-w32, and there’s a link to an .exe build from there.


(This might be a better link for the book than the tigress build.)

09 Jan 2014, 00:44

Andrew Hunt (116 posts)

Hey guys – FWIW, I don’t see this problem on our Win7 64 test system, but I have heard of it sporadically from other folks. Please let me know if anyone finds the culprit!

09 Jan 2014, 09:01

Ron Yorston (2 posts)

Hi, I’m the maintainer of the Tigress busybox-w32 fork.

I’ve never encountered this slow backspace issue myself and nobody has reported it before so I’m as much in the dark as the rest of you. I’d be interested to know if there’s a way to reproduce it.

It would be useful if someone experiencing the issue could do as Carl suggests and tries pclouds’ build of busybox-w32.

18 Jan 2014, 04:48

Patrick Lahey (5 posts)

I’m happy to do what I can to help diagnose the issue. I’ll try the pclouds build and let you know.

In the meantime, if anyone else is experiencing the problem, I have found that the msysgit bash shell works perfectly. For me, at least, it is the best solution so far.

18 Jan 2014, 04:53

Patrick Lahey (5 posts)

Just to follow up - I’ve tried the pclouds build. I see the same slow backspace problem. So far msysgit bash is working for me - I’ll let people know if I see any problems with that too.

I appreciate the attention to the problem, many thanks!

10 Apr 2014, 07:54

Ron Yorston (2 posts)

If by backspace you mean cursor movement to the left without deletion there is a problem with that, in that the console cursor become invisible during motion. The lastest version of my busybox-w32 has a fix for this, though only for movement to the left. It also improves line editing when input spills off the end of the line.

…and the latest release also improves the appearance of motion to the right.

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