Windows hints, tips, and tricks

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Unzipping files

You need to unzip the files that the SHA puts on your disk. You should be able to simply double-click on the zip file to make it work. You might need to install a program such as Winzip.

On a Windows XP it turns out not to be so easy. There is an embedded/native unzip program built into Windows XP. To use from Windows explorer you click and highlight a single zip file that you would like to unzip. Then from the File menu click on Extract All and the Extraction Wizard will lead you through the steps and extract your file. You will need to select the folder to extract to (same as the folder name is what I picked).

But this method does not seem to work with unzipping many files at one time.

To unzip a large group of zipped files I believe the only way is to download a program like winzip pro

I used to get the trial version of Winzip 11.1. After downloading and installing the program then you can unzip many files at one time.

1. In Windows explorer click on the folder that has all of the zip folders. In the right hand window should be a list of all of the zip folders. Click on the first folder in the list holding down Shift click on the last folder. This will highlight all of the files.

2. Go the file menu and then to Winzip and to Extract to here.

After some time you will find all of the unzipped files in folders just like when you unzip the files on any other platform.



We are assuming most MOPEX users are on a unix-based (unix, linux, mac) machine, which is recommended not just for the tricks and things listed in the other pages (such as Make a simple mosaic), but also for speed and reliability. Several of the items below will help with running MOPEX on windows.

IF YOU RUN INTO PROBLEMS running MOPEX on windows that are not listed here, please check the bugs list for MOPEX and try the solutions listed there. If you have a more ... interesting bug, please mail detailed information (windows version, amount of memory, speed of processor, version of MOPEX, AORKEY you were working on, and detailed error message information) to the SSC helpdesk at You want to give them enough information to reproduce your error exactly. If they can't reproduce it, they can't solve it.

cygwin dll collision

as of June 14, 2008, we had an error where mopex was complaining about a cygwin dll collision, telling us we needed a more recent version than we have, except that we had JUST downloaded and installed it.

Here are some steps you can try:

  1. Locate the following directory: C:\Program Files\mopex\platform\windows\bin
  2. Copy the "cygwin1.dll" into the directory above (C:\Program Files\mopex\platform\windows\bin)

The method will work on a Win XP PC if MOPEX was requesting a newer cynwin1.dll. However, I cannot reproduce the same "cygwin dll collision" problem on a Vista machine.

This bug may be fixed in a future version of MOPEX.

Getting file lists

MOPEX in particular needs as input lists of files. I have lots of tricks I use to get file lists, but most of my tricks use tools available for unix-based systems, such as redirects, grep, sed, and awk. To make those tools work on windows systems, you should download and install the Cygwin package ( This would give you a UNIX-like terminal window, from which to execute unix commands like

  % ls -1c > list.txt

Installation is fairly straightforward.

Alternatively, to get a file list, you could just

  $ dir *fits

and then copy and paste into WordPad. Of course, this isn't as powerful.


Again, APT runs much more easily on a Mac, but it does run on Windows too. We have found two different ways to install APT. Option one is to download and install the Cygwin package ( and then follow the directions on the APT page.

Option two follows:

Go to a command prompt in Windows XP. To do this click on Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt

This should bring up a text window with the following or similar prompt:

 C:\Documents and Settings\Username>

Then type:

 C:\Documents and Settings\Username>java -version

You should see a response like

 java version "1.6.xxxx"
 Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.xxxx)
 Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 1.6.xxxxx, mixed mode)

If your java version is less than 1.6, you must first download and install the JDK from

Now pick a directory and install the APT program. You will need to "untar" it since it comes in "tar" format which is a way to combine multiple directories (it comes from the days of data tapes and stands for "tape archive.")

If your machine does not recognize that format, go to the following site and install this free tar program:

Click on the first download .exe file and then install it.

Once installed, you should run it on the APT tar file and get a directory named APT_windows_vXXX with a subdirectory of APT_vXXX (whatever the current version is).

Then you need to ensure that the environment contains JAVA in the path. In the Control Panel, select System->Advanced System Settings->Environment Variables... Under System Variables, select Path and click on Edit. In the Variable field, if path doesn't include java than append at the end the location of Java (usually in Program Files/Java/bin).. NOTE THAT the list of paths may come up entirely highlighted. If you type anything at that point, YOU WILL DELETE YOUR ENTIRE PATH. DON'T DO THAT. Click at the end of the path and add the Java path by appending "c:\program files\java\jre6\bin" to the path. Note there could be many versions of java in "c:\program files\java\"; we installed jre6 in Summer 2011. You also should include APT in the path: "C:/APT/apt_<version_number>" .

IMPORTANT NOTE: Once you get all the paths configured, don't move the application folder around. If you do, you will change the paths and break everything you set up above. If you need to move it, then go through and check all these steps again. If you want to access this application, e.g., from your desktop, set up an alias (aka shortcut) on your desktop to the application's permanent home.

Double-click APT.bat from File Manager to start the program.

From a command-line window, if you have installed it in the "Program Files" directory type the following:

 C:\Documents and Settings\Username> cd \Program Files\APT_windows_vXXX\APT_vXXX

Then you should see this prompt:

 C:\Program Files\APT_windows_vXXX\APT_vXXX>

Then type:

 C:\Program Files\APT_windows_v0.98\APT_vXXX> java APT

This should start the program.

Unix cheatsheet

A list of common commands that can be used via Cygwin (see above).