[R] shell.exec() on Windows, unexpected behavior

S Ellison S.Ellison at lgc.co.uk
Mon May 14 13:41:55 CEST 2007


Windows file open behaviour is dictated by the complete set of file associations in the windows registry. You can inspect them in Explorer via tools|folder options|File types, by finding the file type and looking at the advanced options. 

I would suspect that installing acrobat and the reader in different order on different machines will have changed the default file open action. You can override the defaults by specifying your own.

but it will have essentially nothing to do with R... you should see the same behaviour in explorer.

>>> "Richard M. Heiberger" <rmh at temple.edu> 12/05/2007 00:37:13 >>>
I have Windows XP machines with different software configurations.
My laptop has Adobe Reader 8 and Adobe Acrobat 6.
My desktop has Adobe Reader 8 and does not have Adobe Acrobat.

On both machines, PDF extensions are registered to Adobe Reader 8.0,
and double-clicking a pdf file in Windows Explorer opens Adobe Reader

In R-2.5.0, with all Adobe windows closed, the command
  shell.exec('c:/Program Files/R/R-2.5.0/doc/manual/R-admin.pdf')
opens an Adobe window.
On the laptop, it opens Adobe Acrobat 6.0.
On the desktop, it opens Adobe Reader 8.0.

When an Adobe window is aleady open, shell.exec() uses the already
open Adobe window.

Neither machine has any Adobe directories in the shell("PATH").

I am puzzled by shell.exec() opening "Adobe Acrobat" when the file
extension is registered to "Acrobat Reader".  The documentation in
?shell.exec says "Opens the specified file or URL using the
application specified in the Windows file associations."


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