follow-up on illegal file names

Subject: follow-up on illegal file names
From: Mark I Halpern <Mark_Halpern -at- SMTPGATE -dot- TESSERACT -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 1996 10:30:44 PST


First, my thanks to all of you who sent me suggestions as to how to
get rid of the illegally-named files in my Windows system. I had
hoped to thank each of you individually, but there were so many who
responded that it would take me a full day to write a note to each, so
please accept this expression of my gratitude to those who took time
out from their own busy days to try to help.

Second, I must sadly record that none of the suggestions seems to
work. Almost everyone advised me to drop into DOS, and use various
tricks involving wildcard characters. I haven't tried every variation
suggested on this theme, and I might yet strike paydirt with one of
them, but I don't expect to. After all, Windows *is* DOS; DOS with a
(more) human (inter)face, but still DOS. If DOS can't recognize the
filenames when used through Windows, why should it do so when used
directly? I know there are some things you can do in DOS that you
can't in Windows, but getting tricky with file names doesn't seem to
be one of them.

As I said to one of my benefactors, I think many of us sometimes
think of DOS as being to Windows what assembly language is to a Higher
Level Language like Pascal, and expect to be able to do all sorts of
things with it that you can't do with a HLL -- but that's a false
analogy. Using DOS to control your system is more like trying to
control your car's engine from under the hood instead of from the
driver's seat -- you don't get more functionality, you just get dirty.

I have noticed one more thing that might be a clue for someone
who's really deep into DOS's file structure and naming convention;
when I bring the illegal, blank-containing file name into a dialogue
box -- the Rename box, for example -- the whole name is enclosed in
quote marks. Does this cause a light bulb to go on for anyone?

Thanks again to all who tried to help...


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