Files vanishing for good: 'File name or path invalid'
Thread poster: DPS

DPS
Australia
Local time: 18:12
Member
German to English
+ ...
Jan 13, 2008

Hello everyone,

I am struggling with a great and increasingly worrying mystery:
Word files keep 'disappearing' from my computer. While working on the files (or when trying to save them), an error message pops up, advising me that 'Dateiname oder Pfad ungültig' (file name or path invalid) - and the file is gone!!! There are no temp files, nothing, no traces of the file left on the computer.

When it happened for the first time a few weeks ago, I assumed the client had sent me a corrupted file, so I was annoyed but did not worry much about it. Since then it has happened a few more times. Different clients, different Trados TMs... Even though I back up all files, it could happen at any time, and there is always the risk of work being lost.

I scanned the computer (my PC is a virtual fortress) and double-checked with the good people of Norton/Symantec - no viruses or similar.

Has anyone experienced this problem before and knows what might cause it?

Any suggestions appreciated.

Regards,
Petra


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xxxtlmurray
Local time: 03:12
English
Could be path or file name Jan 13, 2008

....While working on the files (or when trying to save them)...


Which version of Windows? 2000? XP? Vista? ME? (These are not problems in Macintosh.)

it sounds like you have a path that's too long or invalid characters somewhere along the way, or files that are named too similarly at the front.

PATH: The path includes all characters all the way from C: to the last letter of the file name. Windows XP is limited to 256. So the path
C:\Documents and Settings\Petra\Project XYZ .... \somefilename.doc
can be pretty long.

INVALID CHARACTERS: The list of valid and invalid characters allowed in a path or a filename that Windows adheres to may be different than some applications. For example, an ampersand is okay in Windows, but ASP-class applications choke. (Actually a lot of regular apps sort of discard ampersands. If you open file A&B.doc and then query the app to determine the file name, it will be AB or A_B.) Further, a file from a Macintosh may have invalid characters. The only character you can't use on a Mac is a colon.

SIMILAR NAMES: Windows is still an 8.3 filename system at its heart, unless you specifically tell it to use only long file names (which can break some applications). If you are interested I could go into the problems of Windows, but it's lengthy. The bottom line is that if you have a bunch of file names in a folder and they are named the same at the front of the name, Windows has an easy job.
file12.doc
file23.doc
file98.doc

But if the differences start appearing later on, Windows has to struggle, and if the differences some after the 13th character, problems can occur when sending files to other machines and burning CDs:
testX_20080112.doc
testX_20080113.doc
testX_20080114.doc


[Edited at 2008-01-13 20:38]


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:12
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sounds like a hard drive corruption Jan 14, 2008

If it were a Macintosh I'd suggest running a utility like Norton Disc Doctor. On a Windows machine I'm not sure what to suggest. Older versions of Windows had a utility called Scandisk, but this seems to have vanished sometime around XP.

Basically, as I understand it, there's a hidden file on the hard drive that's like a table of contents, indicating where each file starts, continues, and ends. If this table of contents gets out of synch with what's really on the hard drive, you get a corruption.


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DPS
Australia
Local time: 18:12
Member
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
How to find the missing files? Jan 14, 2008

Thanks, TL and Steven.

btw: I am using Windows xp. Things seem to have started to go funny shortly after I had installed PowerPoint 2007 and Norton Internet Security. That might be just a coincidence though.

I don't think that the file names as such are causing the problem. Also, the issue is not the impossibility of saving them due to a file name or path error but rather - while I am working on a file - that the system tells me that there is such error, can't save the file and - whoosh! - the file disappears into system nirvana.

It would make me feel a little calmer if at least I knew that there is a way to locate the file should this happen again. I tried the 'search' function, but without any luck.

Does anyone know if s.th. like 'ScanDisc' is available for xp if the problem is indeed as Steven has suggested?

I find it rather disconcerting to work with the constant worry that my files could vanish at any time...

Petra


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xxxtlmurray
Local time: 03:12
English
Save to other location Jan 14, 2008

the issue is not the impossibility of saving them due to a file name or path error but rather - while I am working on a file - that the system tells me that there is such error, can't save the file and - whoosh! - the file disappears into system nirvana


So is it that you're working along in a file, everything seems fine, and then you get a message that there is an error ... and at that time you did NOT try to do a save?

If so, do you have a lot of room on your hard drive? Have you ever cleaned out your (several) "Temp" folders? Sounds like a problem with the many temporary files some applications create. Windows does not do a good job of cleaning up after itself.


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DPS
Australia
Local time: 18:12
Member
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you... Jan 15, 2008

That's exactly what's been happening: Happily typing away - error message - file gone!

I do have plenty of space on my discs (20 + 35 GB left), but I must admit I haven't been particularly diligent in cleaning out my temp folders: All I ever did was to occasionally run the 'clean disc' function, clearing out the temp internet files.

I have now thrown out ALL temp files and am in the process of reorganising my folders. Let's see if this will put an end to this problem.

Thanks again!


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