DOS File Names

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DOS File Names By Matt Elton

DOS, the text based Disk Operating System made by Microsoft, uses an Eight Dot Three file naming system. This means that all files in DOS can have up to eight characters in the file name followed by a period and then a three character extension. Below is a list of common DOS file extensions:

.EXE = Program File .BAT = Batch File .BAS = BASIC Programming Language Program .TXT = Text File .DOC = Document .SYS = System File .DLL = System File (Usually a driver) .DIR = Directory (Folder)

Below are some basic rules for DOS file names:

* A file name or folder name can be no more then eight characters in length * A file name or folder name must have an extension that is no more then three characters in length. * No spaces are allowed in any DOS file name, folder name, or extension. * The following characters may not be used in a DOS file name, folder name, or extension: (? :* , ; = + # >| [ ] / \K)

Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000, ME, XP, and Vista all support Long File Names, or LFNs. Long File Names can be up to two hundred and fifty five characters in length! If you give a file a long name in Windows, when you access the file in DOS the file name will have no spaces in it and will be abbreviated with a ~ symbol because DOS does not have Long File Name support. Note that the Command Prompt in Windows XP and some other version of windows may support Long File Names but all versions of true DOS that can be booted (for example, a DOS boot disk) do not support long file names.

If you are using Windows 95 or 98, then it is important to remember that the C:\ directory can only hold a total of two hundred and fifty five files. The truncation of Long File Names into Eight Dot Three File Names can often fill up

this two hundred and fifty five file limit rather quickly, which could cause Windows to freeze. For this reason I recommend that you do not store a lot of files in the C:\ directory. Put your files into folders, like C:\documents instead. Folders do not have a two hundred and fifty five file limit.

Heres some basic DOS commands for changing file attributes:

First, type in the file location, such as C:\ Then type in the word ATTRIB Then type a space and one of these commands: +R = Make read only -R = Make not read only +A = Archive -A = Dearchive +H = Hide file -H = Reveal file +S = Mark as system file -S = Remove system file mark Then type a space and then the file name and extension and press Enter.

For instance, C:\msdos.sys is usually a hidden file. DOS, just type in the following: C:\ATTRIB H MSDOS And then press Enter.

To make it not hidden in

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please email me at Matt@comptechinfo.com