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File names too long
Thread poster: MandyT
MandyT  Identity Verified
English to German
Oct 15, 2005

Hallo everyone,

I have some files on my computer that I cannot open anymore. When trying to open them (Word, PDF and Excel files), most of the time nothing happens at all and sometimes I get a message saying that the file name is too long.

Is there a way that I can restore these files or something that I should have on my computer for the system to support long file names? I work with Windows XP.

Thanks for your help

Mandy


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Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 01:25
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
Hi Mandy Oct 15, 2005

As far as I understand, the path of these files is too long, but could you please specify, are you able to see the full name of the file in some file manager, for example, in Windows Explorer?
If yes, try renaming the folders or the files themselves giving them shorter names.

Another question: are these files on your hard disk or on a CDROM? In case they are on CD, the error may be caused by incorrect CD burning format (most programs warn you about paths too long before CD burning).



[Edited at 2005-10-15 22:17]


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xxxtlmurray
Local time: 19:25
English
OS vs the applications vs the disk format Oct 15, 2005

When it comes to the length of file names, or the length of the full path, each element in the equation -- the operating system, the applications, the disk format, and even the network protocol -- all have their various restrictions.

Most of the time the issue is with the the full path length, illegal characters in the path or the file name, or a poorly named file.

The path can be easily shortened by shortening folder names. Don't use long names like "Letters to the company about translation issues\issues about Spanish translation", as they soak up characters very very fast as the folders get deeper.

Use only basic alphanumeric characters, hyphen, and underscores in file names. While you may get away with $, %, and others, some networks strip them out, and some applications don't like them. (Actually to the user it will appear that everything works, but behind the scenes the OS and applications are using different names in memory.) And while more than one dot, or period, is literally allowed, avoid them except before the file name extension.

Make sure you don't have trailing spaces either just before the dot (MyFile .doc) or after the extension (MyFile.doc ).

Finally, saving files in non-Western languages can end up useless if you boot in a US system. For example, say that during the normal day you boot up will full Japanese support, and you download a file that's named with Japanese characters. You put that file on, say, an external hard disk, and take it to a machine that's in US-English. You won't be able to use that file at all -- in fact, you can't even copy it via Windows Explorer -- on the US system. (This is not a problem in Macintosh -- the file name may appear as boxes if no Japanese fonts are installed, but it's still usable.)


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Lars Jelking  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 02:25
Member (2006)
English to Swedish
+ ...
File names Oct 15, 2005

Try rename the files.
In 'Windows Explorer' or 'My Computer' choose the file in question, click File - Rename and type a new name for the file. Be sure to keep the extension (the three characters after the dot) as it is.
Windows XP supports 256 charachters in the file name, so that should not be the problem.


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Han Li  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 08:25
English to Chinese
+ ...
other possible Oct 16, 2005

Windows XP supports 256 charachters in the file name,so the problem maybe not because files names too long.
The default program to open the file maybe incorrect,you can clck the file with right key,in the pop-up menu,select open mode,then select a right program.
Sixty-four-dollar question is what is the extension form.


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MandyT  Identity Verified
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
Shortening does not work Oct 16, 2005

Hallo everyone,

I had tried in the past to shorten the file names - I see the full file name, so this is not the problem. But even after I shortened the name, I can still not open the file.

Best regards

Mandy


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Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 01:25
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
- Oct 16, 2005

MandyT wrote:
I had tried in the past to shorten the file names - I see the full file name, so this is not the problem. But even after I shortened the name, I can still not open the file.


Maybe more shortening is necessary: the WHOLE PATH (i.e. the filename along with the names of ALL folders and subfolders) must not exceed 256 characters. It means that you should rename not only the filename(s) but also the folders/subfolders.


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:25
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
whole path name not just file name Oct 16, 2005

Yes, I confirm that the problem is the entire path name, not just the individual file name. I had this same situation happen to me on an archival CD for directories in which I had a very organized multi-level sub-directory organizational structure.

Jeff
http://www.geocities.com/jeffallenpubs/


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MandyT  Identity Verified
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks to everyone Oct 18, 2005

You were right!!! I moved everything around and now I can open these files again.

Thanks for your help :0)

Mandy


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irfan250501
Local time: 07:25
I couldn't open my file even if I have the right program etc. Aug 20, 2011

Well, your ideas how to solve it doesn't work in my pc. So I have a file named "There goes the weasel". Even if the characters are 21 in total, I couldn't open it. And the path is not long (The location only has 1 folder and 2 subfolders). Why I can't open that file? :/

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Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 01:25
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
Probably Aug 20, 2011

your file is corrupted...

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Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:25
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Yes, could be corrupted, or not a valid file Aug 20, 2011

irfan250501 wrote:
Well, your ideas how to solve it doesn't work in my pc. So I have a file named "There goes the weasel". Even if the characters are 21 in total, I couldn't open it. And the path is not long (The location only has 1 folder and 2 subfolders). Why I can't open that file? :/

It's hard to believe the file is really called "There goes the weasel". If it's a Micro$oft Word file, it's probably called ""There goes the weasel.doc" or "There goes the weasel.docx". If you are using Windows, you can see the full filename in Windows Explorer (this applies to Windows XP, and in Windows Vista or 7 it will be tne same or very similar): In the Windows Explorer menus: Tools > Folder Options... > View and remove the tick from the box "Hide extensions for known file types". The extension (.doc, .docx, .txt etc) tells Windows which application (Word, Notepad etc.) to start when you double-click the name in W. Explorer.
With a hex listing program such as ListXP.exe you can see exactly what the file contains (the entire contents of every file is a sequence of numbers). If a hex listing program such as ListXP can't open it, there's something wrong with the way the file is recorded in the file system and you should use an error-checking program such as CHKDSK (available in Windows) or a different program from elsewhere.
If a hex listing program can open it, then at least it is a valid file but perhaps not a valid Word file. If the file has an extension that is not "registered" in the Windows Registry, it is probably for a program that is not installed on the computer.

I hope that is useful to somebody!

Oliver


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laborare139e
Local time: 01:25
French to Japanese
+ ...
Information unsufficient Aug 20, 2011

When Win refuses to open a file usually an error message appears helping to direct a google search, difficult to say anything without knowing the type of the file and what application you are trying to open it with, what program created it, was it received through email, was it compressed/decompressed, etc.

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irfan250501
Local time: 07:25
a mistake in my post Aug 21, 2011

Sorry, I forgot to write the whole thing I'm asking.

So here it is:
You guys thought my file was corrupted. Actually no, when I erased the weasel word at "there goes the weasel.mp3". I can open it, so what's the problem with that .mp3 file?


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Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 01:25
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
hmmm... Aug 21, 2011

But if you can open it - what's your problem then?

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