Why Can't I create a folder named CON or PRN in windows XP?

Posted on 2007-10-19
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Why Can't I create a folder named CON or PRN in windows XP?
Is there a system protection or just a bug left alone by Microsoft?
Is there Any Solution to this?
Does Vista has the same problem?
Question by:manishksingh97
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    Expert Comment

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    Accepted Solution

    Hello manishksingh97,

    The answer to your question has been explained by an Indian student named Raghuram in a microsoft forum ( He has done it well, so I am pasting the whole post here:

    "You can't create the following folders in Windows CON, NUL, COM1, COM2, COM3, LPT1, LPT2, LPT3,COM1 to COM9 and LPT1 to LPT9....
    The reason is that con, prn, lpt1..lpt9, etc are underlying devices from the time dos was written..
    con means console
    prn means printer
    So if u r allowed to create such folders, there will be an ambiguity in where to write data when the data is supposed to go to the specified devices.To print something, internally what windows does is, writes the data to the folder(virtually u can call it a folder, i.e virtual folders in device level) 'prn'.

    However, this can still be done:

    1) go to run dialog.
    2) type cmd/command (command prompt gets opened)
    3) go to root directory like C:\ or D:\ etc
    4) type md \\.\\c:\\con

    This is a UNC path (see Because these didn't exist under pure DOS, they don't have to be backward compatible (and \\remotehost\drive:\con doesn't make sense anyway, because without having a process on the remote host, there is no current 'console'). It would be a security hazard as well, having the serial and parallel ports accessible for everyone who is allowed to read or write in any single directory."

    Hope this answers your query.

    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    Thanx For the detail Gaurav.

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