what is "~"

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Thread Starter
Apr 12, 2004
:confused: it seems almost every time i read my email from outlook i get this file on my desktop. i just delete it, is it harmful ? WHAT IS IT ???
May 28, 2003
That symbol ~ is called a tilda or tilde. It often means a temporary file and you can delete it. Have a look at the Tilde 'whatis' page.
Aug 17, 2003
The "~" file on your desktop is actually a backup copy of your Outlook Express Address Book.

This is occurring due to a problem with a Windows Update file, and I believe has since been corrected.
Jul 17, 2003
The tilde is used when the filename exceeds 8 characters, it is truncated. :D
In some older programs including Windows 3.1 and maybe Windows 95.

(n) Don’t delete any file that has a tilde or you will regret it unless it is in the Temp directory only.

The temp directory is used for current running programs and should only be deleted after getting ready to quit windows. ;)

Windows 95 uses a process called tunneling to preserve long filenames for files opened and saved with long filename-incompatible applications. Tunneling occurs automatically with the VFAT file system and preserves long filenames on a local computer and across a network. Correct network tunneling is the responsibility of the server—that is, the server must be configured to support long filenames. A server running any edition of Windows NT 3.5 or Windows 95 file and printer sharing services preserves long filenames.

Lacking Windows 95 32-bit common dialog boxes, Win16 applications can't take advantage of long filenames. Word 95's File Save As or File Open dialog box offers support for long, mixed-case filenames. If you try to open a file with a long filename in a Win16 application such as Word 6.0, the filename appears truncated in the File Open dialog. :eek: The Win16 application displays the filename by taking the first six characters of the long filename, adding a tilde (~), a number, and the extension. Truncated long filenames in Win16 applications can be especially irksome for people working on similarly named documents where the first couple of words are not unique. Names, dates, or version numbers used at the end of a long filename don't make identification possible as they are the portion that is truncated. :rolleyes:

The truncation also occurs when you attach a file with a long filename, for example a Word 95 .DOC document, in a Win16 messaging product such as Microsoft Mail 3.2. Sending the attached document in e-mail causes the long filename to be lost. When the recipient receives and saves the document, it will only be accessible in Word 95 using the truncated name, and may no longer be recognizable by filename alone.

Understanding how different applications handle long filenames is important; however, it still doesn't solve the problem of figuring out which truncated filename is which when using a Win16 application. To help you identify files, try alphabetizing them and comparing the Win16 application's dialog to a Windows Explorer long filename listing. "[Comparing the dialog box and the long filename listing is] Not an intuitive process, but a great idea for a utility," says David Berlind, author for Windows Sources magazine.
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