HOW TO: Identify Potential File and Folder Problems in a UNIX-to-Windows Migration

This article was previously published under Q324054
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
You must be careful when you migrate HTML files and other Web elements to Windows from UNIX. Differences may occur in the file systems, the characters that these systems allow, and the system configuration between the programs. These differences can prevent sites from being displayed correctly. This article describes how to identify potential problems.

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Supported Characters

When you use UNIX, you can use any character in a file name. You can use special characters that are typically not valid by "escaping" the character (for example, by prefixing the special character with a backslash [\]); you cannot perform an escaping procedure in Windows. The following characters are supported in UNIX file names, but are not supported in Windows file or folder names:
  • Slash mark (/)
  • Backslash (\)
  • Colon (:)
  • Asterisk (*)
  • Question mark (?)
  • Quotation mark (" ")
  • Angle brackets (< >)
  • Pipe (|)
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Case Differences

In UNIX, file and folder names are case-sensitive. That is, UNIX treats the files MyFile.txt and myfile.txt as two independent files. Windows NTFS file systems are "case-aware." NTFS supports different cases, but it does not allow two files that have the same name, even if the case is different in each name. In this situation, you can only store either MyFile.txt or myfile.txt in a single folder at one time. If you are using the FAT file system, the case is not preserved at all.

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File Name Extensions

UNIX files support file name extensions of any length. Traditionally, Windows supported file name extensions that were up to three letters only. This limitation is no longer enforced, and you can use any number of letters in file name extensions. For example, Windows uses the same basic extension as Apache for server-parsed files (.shtml files). However, Microsoft recommends that you match file name extensions between the two platforms. Windows places a greater significance on the file name extension, using it both to identify the file type and to determine whether the file is run in Internet Information Services (IIS).

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Folder Nesting

UNIX path names use the slash mark (/) as a folder separator, but Windows paths use the backslash (\). Windows generates an error when it encounters UNIX-style path names. However, paths in URLs use a slash mark (/) in both the programs. You have to make changes only to scripts and programs that access the file system directly.

The UNIX file system appears to be a single-folder hierarchy. Windows 2000 supports both the original disk-based access method (for example, drive C and drive D) and the mount-point method used by UNIX. You can adjust these methods by specifying the mounting point in Disk Manager of the Computer Manager utility.

Because Windows may have problems with very deeply nested folders, Microsoft recommends that you use deeply nested folders under UNIX-hosted sites carefully.

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For additional information about preparing to migrate data in a UNIX-to-Windows Migration, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
324538 HOW TO: Migrate Web Site Data in a UNIX-to-Windows Migration

For additional information about setting permissions, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
324067 HOW TO: Set Directory Security for Shared Folders

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Article ID: 324054 - Last Review: 02/28/2014 04:32:49 - Revision: 3.2

Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition, Microsoft Small Business Server 2000 Standard Edition, Microsoft Internet Information Services 5.0

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