Zone38 Presents...
Letters to the World



Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 12:40 am

A seemingly useless but potentially useful fact about Windows file names: In Windows 2000 and XP, file names cannot start with the characters “con.”– that is, the word con followed by a period. See for yourself: try renaming a file to, say, “” and watch what happens.

This technically held true in other versions of Windows as well, except for one minor catch: Because of the way that the DOS-based versions of Windows (95, 98 and ME) stored filenames, it was possible to have a file whose name started in “con.” if and only if there were a space, a non-ASCII character, or more than eight characters in the name. Even those names, however, are no longer legal in 2K/XP.

I discovered this while trying to migrate someone’s documents over from Windows 98 to Windows 2000. A number of the files were notes for a Constitutional Law course, with names along the lines of “Con. Law 1.doc”. It took me the longest time to figure out why those files wouldn’t copy to the Win2K machine– and then it dawned on me that it might have something to do with the fact that “CON” is a reserved filename in Windows. Indeed, my hunch turned out to be entirely correct; that was exactly the reason that the files wouldn’t copy!

Of course, now I’ve got to find a machine that’s not running Windows 2000 or above that has support for USB drives so I can rename them… -_-

Just edited to add: Oh, of course! The PowerMacs in the music building! I’ll have to go there tomorrow, I guess…

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