Every file you create on Windows must have a file name. The file name uniquely identifies the file so you can find it when you browse the contents of your hard drive. Windows XP gives you a lot of flexibility for naming your files. Your file names can be up to 255 characters in length and they can contain spaces, multiple periods, and numbers. This allows you to create very descriptive file names that help you easily locate your files when you need them. The long file names allowed in Windows XP still require you to separate the file name from the file extension (which describes the file type) using a period. It is also a good idea to not include special characters (such as \ / : * ? ” < >).

When you save a file in Windows XP using a long file name, an 8.3 file name is also saved for backward compatibility. Before Windows, files were saved using a name that could only be up to eight characters in length. The file name was followed by a period and the file extension, which was often three characters in length. Saving a plain text file named myfile would result in the file myfile.txt being saved to disk. Under Windows, this 8.3 name is automatically assigned by the operating system in the background whenever you save a file with a long file name. It usually consists of the first six letters of the long file name, a tilde (~), and a sequential number so that it is unique.

When you delete a file in Windows, both the long file name and the 8.3 name are deleted by the operating system at the same time.

When you save files for the web, you should try to follow the 8.3 naming convention for maximum compatibility.

Bookmark and Share