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File name not accepted

I have copied some files from a server onto a USB memory stick for transfer to my laptop. I did this once in the past - this is just an update exercise. Previously it worked with no complaints from the computer.

A typical file on the USB stick is file:///F:/Stepan SIL implementation/Critical Instrument Register/Internal & External Notes, Letters & Other Correspondance/Haden Freeman Appointment of Responsible Person for Safety Critical Systems Letter 100804.doc

The corresponding file on the computer (Windows XP SP3) is file:///C:/Documents and Settings/Stuart Ord/My Documents/2 WORK/1. Projects/CEDCS/Stepan SIL implementation/Critical Instrument Register/Internal & External Notes, Letters & Other Correspondance/HADENF~1.DOC. It has only truncated some names, not all. I hadn't noticed previously it had done this.

If I try to copy from USB to the computer, I get the message "The file name you specified is not valid or too long"

If I try to edit the file name on the computer, I can get it up to "Haden Freeman Appointment of Responsible Person for Safety Critical.DOC" but no further, although curiously it says "A file of that name already exists", but I can't see it. Similar things happen with other similar file names.

Can anyone explain what's happening and whether I can get my laptop to accept these file names?
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StuartOrd
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StuartOrd
1 Solution
 
HugoHiaslCommented:
In earlier versions of the filesystems... (FAT) there was a limitation that the filename might contain 8 characters and 3 characters as extension... for example myfile01.doc. If the file is longer, it needs to truncate and rename it to fulfil this requirement. Are you using some really old software are a memory stick formatted with FAT instead of FAT32 ?
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StuartOrdAuthor Commented:
The memory stick holds the long file name without a problem - it's a Sony 4GB. It's the laptop (a Toshiba, about 3 yrs old, running Windows XP and updated to SP3) that won't accept it. I thought it was FAT32 but I'm no expert on this - how can I check?
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torimarCommented:
Your laptop will most likely be running on a NTFS formatted drive, while the USB pendrive will most likely be formatted FAT32.
You can easily check by right-clicking the drives in 'My Computer' and selecting 'Properties'.

But that's not the issue. The issue is that Windows XP comes with a filename length restriction of 256 characters, which includes the full path plus the extension. The filenames on your pendrive do not exceed that limit, but if you copy those files over to their long destination path under 'My Documents', they will:
C:/Documents and Settings/Stuart Ord/My Documents/2 WORK/1. Projects/CEDCS/Stepan SIL implementation/Critical Instrument Register/Internal & External Notes, Letters & Other Correspondance/Haden Freeman Appointment of Responsible Person for Safety Critical Systems Letter 100804.doc

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StuartOrdAuthor Commented:
Yes, you're right on the file systems in use.

I see - the path on the laptop is longer. Annoying! I presume if the subdirectory path itself were longer than 250 characters or so it wouldn't work at all.

I wonder why it saved and truncated the names the first time automatically and without a glitch as far as I remember.

Does Windows 7 allow longer file names? I guess my next PC will be using that.
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torimarCommented:
I am afraid Microsoft did not do anything to solve the issue in Windows 7; some users even report that what used to work in XP now, in Win7, generates a "Path too long error".

Check out this thread:
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7itprogeneral/thread/53779044-d453-458b-b8c4-96d41711ea69/

It gives you a briefing about the current situation, some official MS answers, a lot of criticism, and also, among the last 4 or 5 postings, a hint on how to deal with the issue once it hits a whole directory subtree.
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Jackie ManCommented:
You can try the following toolto copy the file.

http://cancopy.net/
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StuartOrdAuthor Commented:
Thanks - very useful help.
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