How Windows Generates 8.3 File Names from Long File Names

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Article ID: 142982 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q142982
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SUMMARY

Windows supports long file names up to 255 characters in length. Windows also generates an MS-DOS-compatible (short) file name in 8.3 format to allow MS-DOS-based or 16-bit Windows-based programs to access the files.

MORE INFORMATION

Windows generates short file names from long file names in the following manner:
  • Windows deletes any invalid characters and spaces from the file name. Invalid characters include:
    . " / \ [ ] : ; = ,
  • Because short file names can contain only one period (.), Windows removes additional periods from the file name if valid, non-space characters follow the final period in the file name. For example, Windows generates the short file name
    Thisis~1.txt
    from the long file name
    This is a really long filename.123.456.789.txt
    Otherwise, Windows ignores the final period and uses the next to the last period. For example, Windows generates the short file name
    Thisis~1.789
    from the long file name
    This is a really long filename.123.456.789.
  • Windows truncates the file name, if necessary, to six characters and appends a tilde (~) and a digit. For example, each unique file name created ends with "~1." Duplicate file names end with "~2," "~3," and so on.
  • Windows truncates the file name extension to three characters or less.
  • Windows translates all characters in the file name and extension to uppercase.
Note that if a folder or file name contains a space, but less than eight characters, Windows still creates a short file name. This behavior may cause problems if you attempt to access such a file or folder over a network. To work around this situation, substitute a valid character, such as an underscore (_), for the space. If you do so, Windows does not create a different short file name

For example, "Afile~1.doc" is generated from "A file.doc" because the long file name contains a space.

No short file name is generated from "A_file.doc" because the file name contains less than eight characters and does not contain a space.

The short file name "Alongf~1.txt" is generated from the long file name "A long filename.txt" because the long file name contains more than eight characters.

Properties

Article ID: 142982 - Last Review: January 19, 2007 - Revision: 1.3
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 95
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
Keywords: 
kbinfo kbui KB142982

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