I thought the previous post will be the last in this series (at least for a while), but I really must share this with you, it’s priceless. And of course it comes from my favorite, MS Windows.
While trying to move some user’s documents from an old computer to a newly assigned one, I stumbled upon a folder which Windows Explorer refused to copy, the error message saying “Cannot copy file:”, then a blank for the file name (sorry, no screen shot for this one, I simply didn’t think of it at the time).
First thing that crossed my mind was that this was a path length problem, as I was copying the files through the network using UNC paths (\\<server>\<share>\<path>), operation which most often than not suffers from this kind of problems. So I mapped the network path to a drive letter to slightly shorten it, but it still wouldn’t want to copy the damned folder.
So I manually copied each sub-folder in order to pinpoint the troublemaker. In the first screen shot you will see the full path of the folder, as displayed in explorer’s folders pane:
The path is 132 characters long, not counting the backslashes:
D:\Backup\2006\0 Research\1 Competitii\1 Competitii vechi\Competitii 2005 si 2006 Ian-Iun\Competitie Renault\2005\Informatii necesare\articles\
But this next screen shot will show you the full name of the file which was causing the problem (see the yellow tooltip):
The file name is 126 characters long:
Dacia a vandut aproape 164_000 de vehicule in 2005 – analize, stiri auto moto reportaje interviuri analize piata de masini.html
So the file name containing the path is 258 characters long, just 3 over the 255 limit imposed by explorer (which probably uses an ANSI file function, instead of a Unicode one).
It is obvious that the file was created using the Save As command of a browser (probably IE 6) and not manually named by the user. Usually browsers name saved pages using the text from the HTML title tag (this is also true for my current version of Firefox — 220.127.116.11 at the time of writing).
Yet Windows Explorer refused to do anything to that file: renaming failed silently without any visual feedback, while copy/move operations would fail with a stupid error message. This is nothing new in Windows, but I find it totally inadmissible in a 32bit operating system which dominates the market for such a long time. In my view it’s just proof of Microsoft’s total lack of respect for its customers.