> I used .Xdefaults (see below) to give the subsequent
> rxvts the same settings that I use in msys.bat. It
> seems that the initial rxvt does not honour the settings
> in .Xdefaults, that's why you need to specify them
> in msys.bat explicitly.
The reason for this is probably because you do
not have HOME defined before rxvt is first invoked. You
must define the HOME variable either in the Windows
environment or in the msys.bat file.
rxvt looks for .Xdefaults in the HOME directory, so HOME must
be defined first before rxvt is executed.
HOME is defined in /etc/profile, but that gets executed after
the initial rxvt, which is too late to execute the .Xdefaults file.