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 PostPost subject: Long file name support        Posted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:11 pm 
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Why is it that MS-DOS and all versions of Windows through to 95, (which was the first version of Windows to support long file names) didn't or couldn't support long file names?

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:33 pm 
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I think it was a Limitation of FAT.


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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:38 pm 
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Yeah, FAT is limited to the 8.3 file names.

8 characters (excluding the systemprotected ones like )( and so on), and an 3 character extension

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 5:15 pm 
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What happended then if you try to save a file with a long name on a FAT file system drive, say if you had Windows 95 installed on a FAT partition?

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 5:31 pm 
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longfilename.doc

Would become:

longfi~1.doc

And the numbers would increment for every file with the same first 6 characters

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 5:40 pm 
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Why is it then when I used to save files to floppy disc or if I save a file to a USB memory drive using the FAT file system, I didn't have any problems saving files?

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 6:25 pm 
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Depends on what version of FAT you're using, look at this for explanations

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_Allocation_Table

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 6:52 pm 
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There was little demand to support more then 8.3 because 98 was to be the home operating system...

A database on an NT server, of course would support longfile names.

Ultimately, you don't need long file name support in 98 :D

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 7:06 pm 
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WTF did Microsoft have it so that you can't use ? as a character in a file name and also have it so that you can type upto 255 character for a file name?

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 7:26 pm 
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? can't be used in a file name because of it's use in scripting (for example, look at the URL bar where it'll be something like viewtopic.php?p=43576

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:06 pm 
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There is a good explanation of long filenames here - it is correct that it is a limitation of FAT, the article saying that in Windows 95 (of course, still FAT) it used extra hidden files to store the extra characters as the length of the actual filenames was still limited by it being FAT.

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 5:11 pm 
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And I suppose that the FAT32 and NTFS file systems do not have this limitation? Sorry if I am going a bit offtopic here, but when you install Vista, why does it insist on beign installed on an NTFS partition?

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:35 am 
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Original FAT (sometimes referred to as FAT16) only supported 8.3 file names due to size restrictions. When you have a limited amount of space and memory, you didn't want to waste it on stuff like supporting long file names.

longfilename.doc would actually become longfi~1.doc (unless one was already there, in which case it would become longfi~2.doc)

Storing on a floppy is the same way described as Windows 95, also goes for smaller flash drives (although they may also be formatted with FAT32).

The "little demand" theory is a new one to me (and makes no sense)

"?" can't be used in the name because of DOS. When working on the command line, "?" represents a single character in a sequence that can be any alphanumeric (for example, duke?d.exe could be dukerd.exe or duke3d.exe or dukepd.exe). There are several other reserved characters; '\' is used for specifying directories, '/' for program switches, '*' is the same as '?' but instead of being just one character it can be one or more characters, and a few others.

2000, XP, and Vista insist on being installed on an NTFS partition for several reasons. FAT32 has problems supporting larger hard drives, NTFS has built in security and quotas (limit disk space per user), NTFS performed better, and NTFS is proprietary (makes it harder to switch).


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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 12:14 pm 
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Thanks! Thats some information for me! BTW, Windows 2000 and XP can be installed on a FAT 32 drive, its just Vista that insists on beign installed on an NTFS drive.

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 8:32 am 
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Actually, there is no particular technical reason why DOS does not support long file names. It's a commercial decision on part of MSFT to prevent DOS being detangled from Win9x.

Consider first that ROM-DOS from Datalight does support LFN from raw DOS, and that even MS-DOS 7.1 can be made to do this.

Long file name support consists of having utilities that are aware of LFN, and having some sort of LFN in the kernel or in some TSR. Programs like 4DOS, NC 5.5x, do indeed support LFN if it is available, and programs like DOSLFN, Datalight do support LFN without Windows.

Still, the bulk of DOS programs, especially in the early 1990s, do not support this API, and its inclusion in the Windows kernel allowed for this to be 'protected' in an easier way.


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