XP & Long Filenames

DOS can only recognize 8 characters plus an extension of three characters with no spaces in file and folder names. Windows 9x handled this in a way that let you use long file names, but DOS would see the name as the first 6 characters in the file name, minus any spaces, followed by a " ~ " (tilde), a number and then the extension. DOS will see a file named "My Home Page.html" as "MYHOME~1.HTM" and 32 bit Windows will see the long file name.

If there is more than one file that starts with the same first 6 characters, then the number will be different. The first file written in a directory will be assigned 1 and the next 2 and so on. Thus "My Home Page.html" would be "MYHOME~1.HTM" and the next file written to this folder, such as "My Home Page (Back-up).html" would be "MYHOME~2.HTM". To complicate matters more, Windows XP can assign DOS file names differently, sometimes, with just numbers (no tilde), which makes it hard to predict what the DOS name is.

If you need to edit the file or folder paths in a DOS game's configuration file, batch file or shortcut, you will need to know how DOS will see these folders and files.

The easiest solution is to follow the old DOS 8/3 naming convention. If you let your Sierra games install to their default locations, all of your files and folders will conform to the 8/3 convention.

This was easy to see in Windows 9x by just looking for it in the old File Manager (Start > Run... winfile.exe,) which saw the DOS names only. XP does not come with the old File Manager, so you need to use some other method to see the DOS name. XP comes with two command prompts, COMMAND.COM and CMD.EXE. The newer CMD.EXE sees long file names, but, the older COMMAND.COM sees only 8/3 names. You will need to know how to navigate in DOS to browse to the file or folder that you wish to check.

A handy trick for checking the 8/3 names of files and folders is to make a batch file (in Notepad) with this in it:

@echo off
dir %1/-p /x /o:gn> "%temp%\dir.txt
notepad "%temp%\dir.txt"

and save it with a name like "FileList.bat" (or download this ZIPPED bat file) and drop it in your "Send to" folder. You can now right click on the folder that contains the file or folder that you want to check, as well as a list of all the other files in the folder.


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