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Invisible/missing files on mapped drive

Posted on 2011-03-12
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I recently built a new PC with Windows7 Home Premium 64-bit.  After doing so, I physically moved an internal 2TB NTFS drive of shared media files from an older Vista machine into this new machine.  The problem is, other network devices now see some but not all of the folders/files on that drive.  Everything shows up fine on both the host Win7-64 and old [now remote] Vista-32 machines, but two remote XP machines now fail to see ~10% of the folders.  Those missing appear to occur in blocks of 8-10 and are grouped alphabetically (e.g. the F's thru G's, or P's-Rs for music, but different for movies), but other than that I can't discern any distinct pattern in date, file attributes, etc.  If I manually type known missing paths into Windows Explorer, the XP machines can access and play those files just fine, but upon restarting Windows Explorer they disappear by default again.  (This is clearly troublesome for Media Center usage, with 10% of files randomly "gone".)  What's more, a SageTV HD-300 extender box detects even fewer folders/files, and those missing are a _different_ subset of the full set (some show that don't on XP, and vice versa).  

All PCs are set to show all hidden files, updated with latest OS patches, Virus SW up-to-date/no reported viruses.  FWIW, the NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation register is set to the default of "2" (per volume) on the Win7 host and all volumes are set to "0" (enabled).

I've had no luck after 5 hours searching---very frustrating!---so any suggestions are very much appreciated.
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Question by:xoringe
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8 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:PortableTech
ID: 35116210
Are these missing files buried several folders deep, or in folders with long folder names?

At the end of the day this will occur if the combined path and file name of the missing files are more than 255 characters long.  If this seems like the case, try moving some of the files back to the root of the drive and see if they are visible then.
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Author Comment

by:xoringe
ID: 35116287
No, the folder/files names are <<255 characters and are only 2-3 levels deep in the directory structure (e.g. <root>\Music\[missing artist name]).

BTW, I've also previously tried rebooting all machines, unmapping/remapping shared drives, and even installing and formatting a second 2TB drive and copying all the contents over, and it behaves exactly the same---identical missing files on remote clients.
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Author Comment

by:xoringe
ID: 35116650
More info:  The symptoms seem to correlate to certain alphabetical ranges (e.g. "Pir*..." to "The B*" for one media subdirectory, but different for others).  If I use either machine (Win7 or XP) to manually add new folders in the "invisible" range, those become invisible on the XP machine as well once Windows Explorer is restarted.  But new folders added outside the range work just fine.  I don't notice anything unusual about the folders/files just before/after the drop out point, and Shift-Deleting them doesn't seem to have an effect.
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Expert Comment

by:PortableTech
ID: 35116753
just to make sure, when you say the file and folder names are below 255 characters, that is total characters for all path folders and file names added together.  And that this holds true both on the local drive, and for the network path used to access them?

ie

c:\test1\test2\test3\test4\file.avi would equal 35 characters

\\ServerName\test1\test2\test3\test4\file.avi would equal 45 characters

Also, for those bad folders, are you implying that if you make a new folder in the range, that it too is not able to be seen on the remote computers?  

The only other things that comes to mind is some sort of permission issue on the odd folders, but that usually results in an error, not a complete lack of the folder.

Do me a favor and humor me.  If if the path appears to be short enough, move one of the affected folders out to the root of the share and see if it makes a difference.  Or if you rename the folder to something outside of the affected range, does it work?  And if so, was the new name shorter?  Does a really long name outside of the range cause this issue as well?  Are there any special characters in the folder names affected other than basic letters or numbers?

Just trying to get a better handle on the issue, something is just not adding up at the moment.
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Author Comment

by:xoringe
ID: 35117117
Yes, adding new folders in the "bad" range makes them invisible on the XP (but not Vista) remote machines.
The complete path to a currently "invisible" folder is \\[11character server name\DVD\2\Test, which lies within the missing range under ..\DVD\2 noted above.  (Same path on the host, except using "M:" instead of the server name, of course.)
If I move it one level higher to ..\DVD\Test, it becomes visible (but note that that level has a different missing alphabetical range that doesn't include the "T's")  
If I rename that folder to ..\DVD\Test1234567890123456789012345678901234567890, it still shows up.  So it doesn't appear to be a path length issue.
New folder "M:\DVD\2\A much longer name with special-type characters, and numbers 0123456789-.test" works.
Renaming it to "M:\DVD\2\T much longer name with special-type characters, and numbers 0123456789-.test" makes it disappear.
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Author Comment

by:xoringe
ID: 35162530
I fixed it.  It's an issue with the latest version of Avast Antivirus Free.  Rolling it back from v6.0.1000 to v5.1.899 made all the missing files reappear on the older client machines.  See here for more details.
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