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pathname length

Posted on 2015-01-01
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Last Modified: 2016-06-19
I ran into what seems to be a unique problem with Windows 8.1 and a program called ACBLScore.

The latter is a poorly-written program with an ancient UI (copyright 1991!!). It has a Setup mode in which you set the pathnames to three important directories. It appears to accept long path names but when it runs, it turns out that ACBLScore has truncated the pathnames to 40 characters!

What's weird about this is that no truncation occurs when the program is installed on a Win 7 machine!!!

Any ideas as to what's happening?
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Question by:eschamp
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40526918
Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 are three different operating systems and a long way from DOS.

Windows 64-bit won't deal with DOS at all. Was the Windows 7 system X86 32-bit?

Other than that, file handling capabilities between the 3 systems is very similar.
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Author Comment

by:eschamp
ID: 40526940
If you really want to help, please download and install ACBLScore (http://www.acbl.org/clubs_page/acblscore/download-acblscore/) so you can see what I'm talking about.

Why did you mention DOS?

The program runs fine under 8.1 except for the pathname truncation.

Thanks.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40526949
Sorry, I am not about to install a 1991 system on my Windows 8.1 system. I tried to assist with the only thing I am aware of that affects DOS filenames.

Someone else may know better.
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Author Comment

by:eschamp
ID: 40526962
Why do you think that this has to do with DOS filenames rather than pathnames?
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40526974
Because Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 will interpret paths the same way.  If an old system put an invalid character in a path name, then new Windows may not have a way to deal with it. New Windows will prevent invalid characters in path names.  That seems most likely at this point.

Upon reflection, I am not sure about 64-bit being a issue as I had surmised earlier. I think more likely it is some form of invalid character.
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Expert Comment

by:it_saige
ID: 40527997
You only see this problem on Windows 8.1 computers?  I have a Windows 8.1 virtual machine.  I'll see if I can replicate your issue.

-saige-
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by:it_saige
ID: 40528066
Installing on my Windows 8.1 VM -Capture.JPGProduced the following results:

Regardless of whether I install as a Standard user or an Administrative user, I get no truncated paths (used just the defaults when I ran the installer) -Capture.JPGThis is the version I installed -Capture.JPGDownloaded from the link you provided above -Capture.JPG-saige-
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Author Comment

by:eschamp
ID: 40528175
OK. Thanks!

Try a path like C:\users\somename\documents\webpages\cinnaminson\acblscore\files

Thanks again.

The default paths worked for me, too.
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Expert Comment

by:it_saige
ID: 40528220
Still not getting any file/folder truncation.Capture.JPGCapture.JPGCan you provide a screen shot or snippet of where you see this at?

-saige-
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Author Comment

by:eschamp
ID: 40528234
Can I see the screen that is blocked by "browse for folder"?
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by:it_saige
ID: 40528253
Per your request:Capture.JPG-saige-
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by:it_saige
ID: 40528258
And in case you ask.  I chose the GAMEFILE directory and hit ok on the Browse For Folder dialog.  These are the results:Capture.JPGCapture.JPGAs you can see, the path is too long to display in the box, but it is not truncated.

-saige-
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Author Comment

by:eschamp
ID: 40528494
Did you click OK? I can set a long path there, but when I go to use it and get "file not found" and then go back there, that's when I see the truncated paths.

Thanks for following up with this.
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by:it_saige
ID: 40528538
Ah...  I see the issue now...  I did click ok and got the truncated path.  I have tried compatibility mode to no avail.  I also tried installing as an Admin to see if maybe there was a setting missing.  The only other thing I can try is to see if perhaps it will recognize an environment variable.

I'll let you know how that goes.

-saige-
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Accepted Solution

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it_saige earned 334 total points
ID: 40528555
Unfortunately, I was not able to resolve the path truncation using an environment variable.  I think your only recourse now is to contact the software manufacturer directly or just use the program at it's default location.

-saige-
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Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 166 total points
ID: 40528557
It is reasonable to imagine that operating systems are outrunning 1991 DOS programs. Windows 10 is around the corner, so I agree with the above:  Contact the software manufacturer if you can.
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Author Comment

by:eschamp
ID: 40528602
So the question becomes, what is different about Win 8.1 that causes this?
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40528604
Who knows?  I am certain that Windows 8.1 designers would never have imagined 1991 systems in play so it is not supported. Once that happens, there is no way do know why a 1991 program does not run.
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Author Comment

by:eschamp
ID: 40528838
"It is not supported". What is "it"?

The program actually runs.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40529010
A program can run without working. I have had that happen many times.

This program must be DOS (pre-1995) and so your Windows 8.1 system must be 32-bit.

If you need to run it, set up a Windows 7 virtual machine (or even a Windows XP virtual machine and run it in there. If you chose to do this, you probably need to change your 32-bit system to a 64-bit system.
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Author Comment

by:eschamp
ID: 40529027
The program works fine if I use the default installation directories.

Looks like the copyright is 2006.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40529030
You said the program came from 1991. Now you say 2006. So then contact the vendor as suggested above or else use the default directories.

Windows 8 / 8.1 works just fine. I have been using it for 2 years now.

We do not know what the program is and you have not said. But call the vendor and explain the problem.
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Author Comment

by:eschamp
ID: 40529454
1. Yes, originally, I said 1991. In delving deeper, I found that that was wrong an the latest version carries a 2006 copyright. I did send an email to the support address, and no, I do not want to use the default directories unless I am forced to. Thanks anyway.

2. I'm not questioning that.

3. I posted that it is ACBLScore and a link. That's how it_saige was able to install and make suggestions.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40529469
Thanks. It is quite possibly not Windows 8.1 compliant. I have software for Windows 8.1 that was issued in October 2013 just (JUST) ahead of Windows 8.1. It is a different OS from Windows 8 and much of my software needed upgrades and revisions.  

If it not the fault of Windows 8.1, rather the fault of vendors caught with their pants down not adapting.
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Author Comment

by:eschamp
ID: 40529481
John, John, John!  You're overlooking that it works perfectly well under 8.1 EXCEPT for the directory paths!

I would like to know what is different about 8.1 that truncates (or makes the program truncate) the pathname.

I'm not pointing fingers, BTW.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40529486
I am not overlooking anything. Software has to be compliant. I do not know what else to say. It is the software vendor's fault and problem and for them to fix. It is not a Windows 8.1 issue.

As I have said, Windows 8.1 is NOT Windows 8 nor a Windows 8 update. It is a different operating system.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40529505
@eschamp  - Let me add this, so you know I am not stringing you a line.

The version of SEP (Symantec Corporate) that works with Windows 7 Pro and Windows 8 Pro does NOT work with Windows 8.1 New version required.

The version of NCP (VPN) that works with Windows 7 pro and Windows 8 Pro does NOT work with Windows 8.1. New version required.

Operating systems change.
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Author Comment

by:eschamp
ID: 40529508
BUT THIS PROGRAM WORKS -- except for the pathname truncation issue!!!

Maybe it would be better if you stopped trying to help me. Happy New Year.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40529512
I understand your point completely. The program has a defect as you note.
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Assisted Solution

by:it_saige
it_saige earned 334 total points
ID: 40529515
If I had to take an educated guess (because I don't know what language this was written in; I can say for certain, though, that it was not .NET).  So lets look at the body of evidence.
1.  The textbox control used to hold the path is capable of holding a long path without issue.
2.  The dialog used to lookup path's, is capable of browsing through long path's without issue.
3.  The truncation only occurs after you try to save the long path.

Based on the body of evidence, I would say that the variant type used by the control or the field that is used to store the value from the control either:
1.  Has a set length.
2.  When the string is converted to the variant type, the string is truncated because of the logic of the conversion.

Since we know that the string from the control is stored properly in Win8 and in Win7, we can conclude that the truncation is caused by the logic involved in the conversion from a string type to the variant type used by the field.

This could especially be true if the developers are using any sort of an encryption algorithm to store the data from the textbox.

As stated though, this is only an educated guess...

-saige-
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Author Comment

by:eschamp
ID: 40531678
Thanks. I'm awaiting a response from the developer.
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Expert Comment

by:it_saige
ID: 41658267
The author has received the answer to their question...  They have no recourse but to contact the software manufacturer.

I would recommend a split between myself and John...

I first recommended contacting the software manufacturer here:

https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/28589420/pathname-length.html#a40528555

While John recommended contacting the software manufacturer here:

https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/28589420/pathname-length.html#a40528557

In my final comment, I provided possible causes for the issue which are resulting in the author's need to contact the software manufacturer:

https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/28589420/pathname-length.html#a40529515

-saige-
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41658413
I agree with it_saige and so have objected so as to open the question.
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