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Apache::WinBitHack - An Apache module to emulate XBitHack on Win32


In Apache's httpd.conf:

   PerlModule Apache::WinBitHack

   <Directory "/Apache/htdocs/some_dir">
      SetHandler perl-script
      PerlFixupHandler Apache::WinBitHack
      XBitHack Full
      Options MultiViews Indexes Includes


Apache contains a very useful directive XBitHack, whereby a file that has the user-execute bit set will be treated as a server-parsed html document. As well, the group-execute bit can be used to set the Last-modified time of the returned file to be the last modified time of the file, which is useful in determining if a document is to be cached or not. On Win32 the directive works in principle, but in an inconvenient fashion - the execute bit is set on Win32 by the file extension, which means that documents that are to take advantage of XBitHack must have an extension like exe or bat.

This module emulates XBitHack on Win32 by, rather than using the user and group execute bits, using instead the attributes of the file to determine if the file is to be server-parsed by mod_include. Attributes of a file on Win32, which you can see by running

    C:\> attrib file_name

include archive, hidden, read-only, and system. Normal user files have just the archive attribute set, which some back-up programs use to determine if the file should be included in the next incremental backup (most backup programs now instead use the last-modified-time of the file for this purpose). By setting certain attributes of the file and specifying directives as in the SYNOPSIS, particularly the Includes option, XBitHack can be emulated in the following ways.

XBitHack Off

With this directive, no server-side parsing of the file will be performed.

XBitHack On

This directive emulates setting the user-execute bit. With this directive, a file will parsed by mod_include if the archive attribute is unset, which you can do by

   C:\> attrib -a file_name

Note that when a user's file is first created or when it is edited the archive attribute will normally be set (and all others unset), so you must intentionally unset the archive attribute to enable server-parsing of the file.

XBitHack Full

This directive emulates the action of also setting the group-execute bit. With this directive, as with XBitHack On, a file will be parsed by mod_include if the archive attribute is unset. As well, a Last-modified header will be sent, equal to the last-modified time of the file, unless the read-only attribute of the file is set, which you can do by

   C:\> attrib +r file_name



The description of the XBitHack directive in the Apache manual (


Randy Kobes <>

Geoffrey Young <>

Paul Lindner <>


Copyright (c) 2001, Geoffrey Young, Paul Lindner, Randy Kobes. All rights reserved.

This module is free software. It may be used, redistributed and/or modified under the same terms as Perl itself.


This code is derived from the Cookbook::WinBitHack module, available as part of "The mod_perl Developer's Cookbook".

For more information, visit