Can Win2K/XP be forced to create DOS-aliases and long filnames?

Posted on 2003-02-21
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-02-01
If these OSes are installed on FAT16 or FAT32 partitions I have discovered (from much experimentation) that if the "long" file (or folder) name is (a) 8.3 compatible AND (b) does not contain mixed case letters (in either the name or the file extension) then a DOS-alias is not created.
Thus the folder Desktop creates a DOS-alias but WINDOWS or myfolder or myfile.TXT do not, since they have the same case throughout the filename and/or the file-extension - even if the name and the extension are themselves of different case.

On NTFS partitions it is similar but the mixed case no longer affects the outcome.

There must be some information on this somewhere but I'm darned if I can find it!

Have tried all the settings at HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem to no avail: setting Win31FileSystem to true creates 8.3 dos thoughout but no longnames of course.

The same files created in Win9x/ME on FAT32 partitions always show both short and long formats when viewed using dir /x in Win2K/XP so there must be a place allocated to them in the FAT entries/attributes.

Why is this a problem? Well, in the absence of a short name, when the long name is 8.3 compatible, then the same files are all converted to upper case when viewed from Win9x/ME on a multi-boot system.
Question by:pdogs
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ID: 7996278
Well when I use command.com all the file names show up regardless of the the case structure. So it apparently is 32BIT issue since a command.com is 16bit. But don't know the reason why.

The Crazy One
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Expert Comment

ID: 7996329
Oops I was wrong they don't showup in command.com. hmmm
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ID: 7996725
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ID: 7996965
Thanks for the links stevenlewis but 'fraid "bin there/tried that". These are the HKLM entries I mentioned.

The first link forces 8.3 but loses the long names and (when I tried it) the Start button would no longer function in Win2K. The second one can eliminate the 8.3s (for faster file access) but doesn't unfortunately force their creation if you change true to false.

You've no idea how much this one has been bugging me. It's surprising there's not more info on it, since there must be loads of dual-booters on the go nowadays.
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ID: 7997110
Here is an interesting twist I just created a folder


and did a c:\ dir /x

and it returned ABCDEF~1 for that folder

but when I created a 8 letter folder ABCDEFGH and do a dir /x there is no short file name listed for it. In this case it is probably because it is only 8 characters in length.
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ID: 7997123
So I am guessing that in a true Win32 enviroment that if the total length is less then 8 characters prior to the extension then these OS's automatically see it as 8.3 and don't need to list it as a short file name when you do dir /x
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ID: 7997131
Another thing to keep in mind is that the other OS's you mention still use remnants of DOS where as DOS does not exist in the the NT OS's. In fact the NT OS's use a DOS Virtual Machine to emulate DOS. So I am guessing that this is the reason for the difference. 8.3 naming convention is DOS oriented.

Author Comment

ID: 7997224
He He; unless you are using NTFS then if you make a folder called ABCdeFGH I bet it will create a short name!!

I'm sure you're right about the "DOS-emulation" in NT OSes being at the heart of this but isn't it strange that if the file was created in Win9X (say AbCdEfGh) that it will show up in both the short and long names from dir /x in 2K/XP.

In other words 2K/XP can read but can't (or don't) write these double entries into the FAT (or MFT for that matter).

This came to light using FrontPage and with the Webs on a common FAT32 partition. I sometimes worked from WinME and sometimes from Win2K. Then I began having huge problems with broken links and FP extension errors because the uploads to a unix server were confused by the case changes caused by the files being different on each OS. It took me long enough to cotton-on to why this was happening.

Also not easy to manually change all the files and folders back to lower-case (in WinME) because of the hidden _vti_*** files within the webs.

I'm beginning to think there is no true solution to this and will have to perservere with utilities that change the case of filenames the way I want them - or not dual boot in this way. On the othere hand, I would love to really understand the problem and can't believe that it hasn't happened to others.



Author Comment

ID: 7997245
That was ABCdeFGH "I bet..." and not ABCdeFGHI "bet..." ;)
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ID: 7997319
Yeah you are correc on FAT32 ABCdeFGH comes up in the short file name list but ABCDEFGH doesn't. It is strange. Hmmm

Expert Comment

ID: 7998405

I don't understand why you think it's so strange ?

The shortfilename is for DOS compatibility.
That means 8.3 file- and foldernames in UPPER CASE.

So if you are in an OS which can handle lower- and upper case and create such a name there will need to be a short name.

The short name is the name that is physically written into to the FATxx file structure. The long name which can be lower case only or mixed will be written to the extension that newer OS:es can read.

I bet you'll get a short name even if you create a dir with all lowercase letters, if you don't that would be somewhat strange.

/Hans - Erik Skyttberg

Author Comment

ID: 7999191
Nope. All lower case (unless not 8.3 compatible in length) will NOT create a short name yet the "long" name will be in lower case. This is the exact problem that I originally had because I want all lower case in my webs for compatibility with unix servers. So the lower case works while in Win2K but accessing the same files from WinME converts them to upper case!!

Thus if I upload from WinME, the files created in Win2K are changed to upper case and break all the links because both the uppr and lower case versions are both saved on the server!! The only workaround is to find all the hidden files in the webs and specifically change all files to lower case, remembering that I have worked on them in Win2K previously. Tedious or what.

If I use .html rather than .htm that is fine because the .html extension is not dos compliant but there are also .css and .txt files, which will get changed to upper case!!

Strangely enough, if using Win2K/XP on NTFS the results are exactly the same EXCEPT that mixed case filnames are treated the same way as all lower or all upper case!

It's all a bit weird and the only route to understanding the problem would be to know exactly how the NT OSes actually deal with the "file attributes".


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