I'm using emacs 26.2 installed through msys2.

Recently starting subprocesses from emacs has stopped working for me. Specifically M-x shell and shell-command-to-string.

I get the feeling this is due to a windows update or something since I didn't update emacs when this problem started occurring. I'm on the Windows 10 beta channel running version 20H2 at the moment.

Now when I do M-x shell I get this error message: Process shell exited abnormally with code 53. If I call shell-command-to-string I just get an empty string as a reply. No matter what the argument.

Has anyone else seen this problem?

  • Possibly related: stackoverflow.com/questions/2328079/… Can you run the shell from the command prompt?
    – NickD
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 12:49
  • Thanks that got me on the right track. It seems the issue was cmdproxy complaining about libssp-0.dll. If I copied libssp-0.dll from mingw64/bin to mingw64/libexec/emacs/26.3/x86_64-w64-mingw32 it started working again.
    – Joel Nises
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 10:04

1 Answer 1


It seems the issue was cmdproxy.exe complaining about not being able to find libssp-0.dll.

As a workaround copy libssp-0.dll from mingw64/bin to mingw64/libexec/emacs/26.3/x86_64-w64-mingw32.

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