DDE SetLink Snafu

I attempt to use SetLink (with a DDEClientConv) to determine
whether or not an application is running, then I take action
depending on the result. I have tried this with ConnectMode set to ddeManual and ddeAutomatic but I get the same odd effect - namely, the application I am searching for gets executed if it isn't already running! Now, this doesn't happen all the time - I can write a very simple Delphi program to turn a program on and off that works as expected - but in the context of a larger, more complicated Delphi program I see this behaviour happenning. My question to you is, what might make SetLink behave this way? (actually I think it's the OpenLink implicit to a ddeAutomatic that causes it to happen. When I do it with ddeManual it is not the SetLink but the OpenLink which causes an instance of the  
app to be fired up).  
sidarthurAsked:
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arnolduCommented:
I have looked up the thing in the VCL (assuming you are using Delphi 2.0). Whats going on is this:
OpenLink tries to establish a DDEConversation via a DDEConnect to the application ... if this DDEConnect fails then OpenLink executes a WinExec on the application, even if it is already running. Write me if you want me to go more inside the problem - I could send you some lines from the source code and comment it for you that you understand whats possibly wrong
//Arnold
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sidarthurAuthor Commented:
Arnoldu:

So your saying that there is an explicit attempt by the OpenLink to open the application using WinExec? How is it getting the path
and name of the application to run?!? More importantly, how do I
avoid it doing that?

Thanks.

  - S -
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