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External hard drive truncates long file names


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HSACDM's Avatar
HSACDM HSACDM is offline
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04-May-2009, 06:17 PM #1
Question External hard drive truncates long file names
I'm using the Maxtor OneTouch4 250GB external drive and when I try to copy files from my hard to the external drive via Windows Explorer (drag & drop) the external drive truncates the names. Some of the files have long names e.g. more than 100 characters long including the file extension. I am copying MS Word, MS Excel, MS Access, PDF, files, etc. to the external drive. I have a Dell Precision 490 computer with Windows XP as the operating system. Has anyone else experienced this? What can I do to correct this problem? I've tried everything. It even does it when I copy the files from a CD or flash drive.
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04-May-2009, 06:40 PM #2
I can't answer your question fully; but, I have experienced file copy and deletion problems like the one you describe. It has to do with the total number of folders in depth and the total number of characters in the path plus the characters in the file name.

Example:
C:\Users\Thomas Jefferson\Documents\My Pictures\Pictures from Vacation in the Camens\03-29-2008\South Beach\Night Party\Bob Sam Anthony William in buggy.jpg

151 Characters, 9 folders deep

I had a problem deleting a file with a long path like the one above until I reduced every folder to a single character. I could copy it; but, then I not only could not delete it; I couldn't delete the copy either because I had copied the whole directory structure.

There are exact limits to the number of characters in the file path, the number of folders deep and the length of the file name, itself, and Windows can have some strange behaviors when encountering these limits.

Perhaps someone who knows these exact limits will happen along.
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04-May-2009, 06:56 PM #3
External hard drive trucates long file names
Thanks Alex. I've done a straight copy by opening the folder, highlighting the files and dragging them to the root on the external hard drive in Windows XP. I've also tried to copy from folder to root drive, folder to folder and every other way I could think of. It's totally frustrating!
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04-May-2009, 11:50 PM #4
Do you have any special characters in the names, like commas, apostrophes, etc? If so, I suggest you remove them.

To be clear, use only alphabetical letters, digits 0 through 9 and spaces and see if that makes a difference.
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05-May-2009, 12:19 AM #5
Well have you done a Virus scans on those files or the whole system of your computer?
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05-May-2009, 01:09 AM #6
How was that drive partitioned and formatted? If that was done by the manufacturer, the partitioning is typically very poorly done.

You might try wiping the partitions and creating new ones in Disk Management.
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05-May-2009, 11:20 AM #7
External hard drive trucates long file names
Thanks everyone. All of the spaces and special characters are removed when the files are saved. What I forgot to mention was that this problem doesn't happen all of the time. Sometimes the external drive will copy everything and not truncate any of the file names regardless of how long the file names are. I've copied the same files and no problems were encountered, so this is what is so frustrating. I've used my co-workers' computers via USB 2.0 with this external drive and sometimes the files are copied perfectly and at other times, more often than not, the file names are truncated. I just don't get it. What is interesting is that I don't encounter this problem when I'm copying the files from the external drive to my PC. Elvandil, the external drive was formatted by the
manufacturer. I did contact Seagate and this is what they told me, "The drive truncates file names because it's not designed to work with file names that reach a certain length. Once a file name has reach this limit, it automatically truncates it so that the file can be stored effectively." I responded by asking what the character limit was, but I haven't heard from them yet! I find that, that explanation is not true because I have about 60,000 files currently on the external drive and some of the file names are beyond 150 characters. The drive is inconsistent. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Thanks!
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05-May-2009, 03:25 PM #8
In that case, I would take Evandil's advice. I would back up the drive to other media, then delete the partition on the drive and recreate it from scratch in Disk Management.

I might even zero the drive just to be certain. Zeroing the drive consists of using a special utility to write zeros to the entire disk. To be clear, zero the drive, not just the partition on it. There is a difference.
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06-May-2009, 03:35 AM #9
Well if the thats the case then good luck with the new Hard Drive. Just keep us updated if there is still a problem.
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26-May-2009, 07:10 PM #10
External hard drive trucates long file names
Hello everyone, I'm still working on this problem. I have about 22,000 files that I have to copy to CDs. The file names are no longer than 132 characters, including the path name and they aren't nested. I've tried XCOPY and ROBOCOPY and although the file names weren't truncated, they both would not copy all of the files. Has anyone every used Rich Copy 4.0? I'm trying to use it, but I keep getting errors, such as "The system cannot find the specified path". I have been unable to locate a user manual or a listing of error codes. I'm trying to figure out the correct syntax to use for the source and destination paths. Please help. Thanks!
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