OSX truncating folder names on fat32 volume

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by rhkamra, Jul 19, 2009.

  1. rhkamra macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, California
    #1
    I have an external hard drive with several music folders on it. Volume is formatting FAT32 so I can move/edit between osx and windows. When on the OSX side, several folders are renamed into shorter versions. If I try to name it the original folder name it SHOULD have, OSX says I can't because it already exists. I've attached a screen shot of one of the folders. This folder is supposed to say "red hot chili peppers - mother's milk 1989" :-/ Is this just a downside to using a fat32 volume in OSX? All the folders look fine in windowz.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Lanbrown macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    #2
    FAT was designed for 8.3. Remember the DOS and early windows days? 8 characters for the name and three for the extension; the folders were limited to 8 characters as well. How many characters do you count in the folder name?

    MS got around this by using VFAT which was introduced in Windows 95. The file system is still FAT32 though so it retains compatibility with older programs like DOS, Windows 3.11 and before.

    If you want to learn more, try searching for:
    OS X VFAT
     
  3. rhkamra thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, California
    #3
    I see, but if this is my problem then why would it not be more widespread? The affected folders have up to 25 characters, so I do understand the inherent problem here...but what I don't understand is the small number of folders which are affected--a very small percentage. Some of the non-affected folders are substantially longer in name.

    The original format/partitioning of this drive was done in disk utility.

    Since I use mostly Mac, perhaps the best solution to use HFS+ for everything, and get mac drive for my few Windows installations.

    Unless someone has a better solution.
     
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #4
    No, Laqnbrown isn't quite right. This isn't exactly the 8.3 issue.

    I believe this issue has to do with a slightly different problem. I think that the Windows file name including the entire path is limited... I think the limit is 255 or 260 characters (source). The issue comes up usually with iTunes because of the way iTunes names its folders -- you have a 40 or 50 character file name, but it's four or five folders deep and the folders themselves have long names.

    I ran into this issue when I ported my music library from OS X to Windows. I'm not sure why the issue arises on the Mac side but doesn't seem to come up in iTunes on Windows itself.
     
  5. madog macrumors 65816

    madog

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2004
    Location:
    Korova Milkbar
    #5
    It shows fine in iTunes because of the ID3 tag data (or whatever it is). The info that iTunes reads is contained within the file, and isn't necessarily the file name itself. So even if the file name is truncated, iTunes will get its info from that meta data.
     
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #6
    Sorry, I understood that part. What I meant was that why iTunes in Windows seems to use the same naming scheme and not have any problems. Or maybe the 260 character issue only happens on Windows volumes in OS X. I'm not sure.
     
  7. Lanbrown macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    #7
    The file name can be 255 characters on FAT32 using VFAT. The FAT table still uses the 8.3 nomenclature, the VFAT side has the true LFN (long filename). This allow backwards compatibility as the non-VFAT enables devices so that they can still read the FAT table and get the 8.3 information. VFAT/LFN was just an add-on to FAT.
     

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