[texworks] TeXworks 0.5 rev _862 would not start ... reveals possible minor security issue

Paul A Norman paul.a.norman at gmail.com
Thu Jul 21 04:18:24 CEST 2011


This could be a feature or a bug...

I have just been though an interesting exercise worth advising others about.

Suddenly I could not open TeXworks, either in filemanger with a
double click, from a command prompt nor by any other means.

Xp taskmanager would show it churning through CPU for munite after
minute after minute until I killed its process.

Found that I could run the MikTeX version of TeXworks in the MikTex
tree, but not a single revision of TeXworks would start from my normal
portable setup directory.

Canary Chrome was playiong up, but that happens form time to time as
they try out new releases, (normal Chrome was fine) so..

Virus checker could not find anything.

TeXworks would show in Windows Xp's TaskManager but only under
processes, it never made it into the real world as an Application. I
would kill it as a process before trying to restart it. Otherwise it
could run using a lot of CPU for ages.

Two or more copies of Tw could be started and each have their own
process - this would not normally be possible.

I had not edited any Tw hook scripts for days, but I renamed their
suffices all one by one (which deactivated them) and restarted Tw
imbetween each rename, still nothing happening.

So I moved all my scripts to a new location leaving an empty scripts folder.

Tw started absolutely no issues.

I moved just the top files (not script subdirectories back to the
script folder) - Tw would not start.

So I left these top directory files out, and only moved subdirectories
back into the script folder (no files on top level of the script

Tw started ok.

So I racked my brains, I had not created any top directory level
scripts for weeks.

But I had made a shortcut in that level to my General Latex working
files (all up some 7,000) in total. Was Tw following the shortcut and
trying to analyse all 7,000 filers to find scripts on start up?

Deleted shortcut, and Tw opened ok.

Made a new folder on harddrive, and made a shortcut to this remote
folder in the root of the Tw scripts directory.

I put this script below in the remote folder, reloaded scripts and
sure enough the shortcut appears in the Scripts menu as a directory
with .lnk suffix (correct), and the script is listed under it and
works when called by the shortcut.

As from the tenor of previous discussion here, some may view this as a
security issue, thought I better run the issue publicly  here on the
list for analysis and a decision, and if it is not thought to be a
security issue - I really like it!


// TeXworksScript
// Title:  trail shortcut
// Description: Testing whether Shortcuts will be followed in Script directory
// Author:  Paul Norman
// Version: 0.1
// Date: 2011-07-21
// Script-Type: standalone
// Context: TeXDocument
// Shortcut: Alt+T, Alt+A

 TW.information(null, "Short Cut Read", "Short Cut Works");


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