Confirm or Denie about short filenames and SP2?

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by HandsOff, Feb 27, 2006.

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  1. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

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    Hey Everyone!

    I have some psuedo-information that may (if confirmed) explain quite a bit. Some of you may be familiar with "short file names" and how the relate to XP sp1 and sp2. Well XP, and most windows are 32 bit apps. they allow for long filenames. well to make things compatable xp and 16 bit applications XP has to do something rather wasteful. it maintains both short and long filenames. now, if you do not run any 16 bit applications this is not a very good situation. Ok, first of all, Norton Firewall, and maybe AV (my versions) requiere short names enablbled

    SP2 does something very quirky (big surprise!). Get this, it does not allow for the use of short filenames except for programs that are already installed on your computer.

    Now you see the problem. You follow what you think is the best course: You do a clean install of windows and SP2, and then install your applications and you are screwed. because now Norton and other 16 bit apps will not work properly. (when they call a procedure it is not found)

    On the other hand, if you installed over your sp1, then sp2 will work with the 16 bit apps. AND THANKS ALOT MICROSOFT FOR MAKING THIS CLEAR! Sheesh! Why couldn't they mention that little facto_O

    Now, I do remember some people advising to install sp1 then apps then sp2, and it would appear this would have be correct (for me). But, ya know, I kinda like to know the reason.

    - HandsOff,
    " I make all the mistakes, so you don't have to!"
     
  2. MikeBCda

    MikeBCda Registered Member

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    I've got a couple of apps (one of them supposedly right up to date, the other a real antique from 3.1 days) that are supposed to handle long names but obviously aren't happy with them and sometimes mess up.

    So for any data file that I know will be handled by one or the other, I make a point of renaming to 8.3 format.
     
  3. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

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    Hi Mike-

    Yes, that is a good thing to do, however, still you have to be aware of the problem, and the specific problem names. If you are renaming an application it is not a bad idea to run > cmd it so that the name gets reregistered.

    in the instance that lead me to discover this behavior it was not a problem with the program not being long name compatable. It was being called by a program that was not. So the problem appeared to be with the program that, in fact was working just fine.

    All that aside, sp2 must have a place it stashes the short names of programs you have installed. One wonders if it might not be handier just to edit this list in the case of an old program that still needs to be run.

    And lastly...I am still hoping that someone can confirm this about sp2 and short files names. Is this common knowledge? Why wasn't I informedo_O


    - HandsOff!
     
  4. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Hello,
    I did several clean installations as follows:
    Windows XP then SP1 then SP2
    Windows XP then SP2
    Windows XP SP1 then SP2
    Windows XP SP2 right away
    No problems with names whatsoever, long or short.
    Mrk
     
  5. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

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    Well if anyone would be likely to be running 16 bit apps I suppose it would be you. On the otherhand if you cannot say unequivically that you installed programs that use short names subsequent to installing XPsp2 and that the programs continued to work I still consider the question to be open. Still, I appreciate the input. Boy, that's a lot of installation, you must work in IT or maybe you just are helping others out?

    One thing that makes me feel a little bit better is that now I do not feel so embarrassed that I was unaware of this issue. Apparently, nobody at Wilders knows either.

    Since this issue could have ramifications for thousands of SP1 users, past and present, I will see what I can dig up on it. In the mean time if anyone can comment on does sp2 allow prior installed programs shortname functionality, but not for programs installed after sp2 is installed it sure would be great to know.


    HandsOff
     
  6. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Hello,
    I do run a number of non-gaming applications that are 16-bit and have had no problems. Mainly National Instruments drivers and softwares for a variety of technical lab instruments.
    I do not work in IT, but I do help out people. Besides, I have a large collection of pcs at home / work, so they come under my foul reach.
    However, I do have problems with some older games, but I cannot say for sure why they are no longer compatible with xp sp2. Some games need to be able to access lpt1 and com1 ports, and they don't work under sp2. Others are just not valid NT applications.... for what reason? I have not explored too deeply.
    Mrk
     
  7. Alec

    Alec Registered Member

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    As far as I am aware, there are no new changes in regards to short and long file name support under Windows XP SP2... nor have there been any significant changes to such support for probably the past 10 years or so of Windows operating system development. Moreover, the transition from 8.3 or "short" filenames to "long" filenames has more to do with file system development and much less to do with 32-bit vs 16-bit operating systems themselves. That is, the original FAT filesystem did not support names longer than 8 characters with a 3 character extension, and it was this filesystem restriction that led to later issues.

    However, when Microsoft was developing it's 32-bit operating systems (Windows NT and Windows 95), it had to revisit much of the API code altogether. 32-bit programming affected how programmers dealt with memory addressing and a few other low level programming concepts and not with relatively high-level concepts such as file system naming restrictions. However, as noted, the OS developers did have to revisit almost all aspects of the Windows application programming interface (API) and, so, while progressing through some of the filesystem code, I suspect that someone thought it was a good idea to begin supporting longer file names.

    You must remember that in the early days of FAT and DOS, no one had multi-gigabyte harddrives or, really, any harddrives hardly at all since most people just had 5 1/4" or 3 1/2" floppy disk drives that held anywhere from 320KB to 1.44MB. Indeed, when FAT was designed, it would have been considered a wasteful luxury to have file names longer than the initial 8.3 specification. By the time of Windows NT and Windows 95, however, harddrives had become sufficiently large, and common enough, to afford the reservation of space necessary for longer file names. However, by this time, FAT was an entrenched specification and, as you noted, many older applications had been designed around the older 8.3 naming convention. Therefore, Windows automatically generates 8.3 names whenever a filename is utilized that exceeds the 8.3 spec. This is done to maintain backward compatibility.

    You can view the 8.3 names via a command prompt by typing in "dir /x". There should be no major modifications to long/short file name support in SP2. There is also the story behind the operating system API transition from ASCII to Unicode and how affects file names and file systems... but that is a topic better left for another day (even though closely related).
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2006
  8. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

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    There seems to be alot of circumstantial evidence that there is a change. On the other hand, I'm probably just going to have to replace a couple old programs that I like. Make work out for the best.

    I'm not especially criticle of the idea of making the change, but really, people have to know what the rules are. Anyway, it seems like an issue that would necessitate installing programs and O/S in a specific order or rendering a program non-functional. It would be good to know what to expect!

    I guess, since no one has a definite answer, next time, before I install sp2 I will have to pose the question to Microsoft.

    Also, I'm curious about the magnitude of the performance gain. I heard it is not huge, but not insignificant.

    -HandsOff
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2006
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