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I see that MinGW shell launches with

sh --login -i

Another way to launch would be like this

sh --login

I know that -i is for interactive shell, but I am not seeing a difference between the two commands.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Interactive mode is the default if you don't pass a command to run via -c, and if the standard input/output streams are mapped to terminals.

So specifying -i on the command line is not necessary. It can be in some situations in scripts or when invoking a shell from another program.

See the INVOCATION section in the bash man page:

An interactive shell is one started without non-option arguments and without the -c option whose standard input and error are both connected to terminals (as determined by isatty(3)), or one started with the -i option. [...]

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