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Desktop Sync and Short Folder/File Names on Windows


IMPORTANT NOTICE: Desktop Sync has been out of support since December 31, 2019. As it is approaching its End of Life on April 30th, 2024, we strongly encourage users to transition to our Desktop App as soon as possible. If you would like to learn more about the differences between these products, see how Desktop Sync and Desktop App compare.

Microsoft Windows has special behavior where it considers file and folder names that are longer than 8 characters to be equivalent to shorter 8 character names in some instances. For example a file called 'January Report.doc' would be considered equivalent to 'JANUAR~1.DOC' if they were in the same folder. The latter is always 8 characters long, and for files it is followed by a 3 character extension (also known as an 8.3 file name). 

If you use Desktop Sync on Windows and a user uploads a 'short name' file or folder to the cloud, it will conflict with files or folders which start with the same characters in the same directory on other users' machines and prevent the files from synchronizing properly.


Steps to Resolve

There are a few steps you'll need to take to resolve and ultimately prevent such issues from occurring:

  1. When you see conflicts that arise from matches with files or folders in the cloud that have the 8.3 naming convention you can resolve the conflict by renaming the same files or folders in the web interface with their full name (if the name matches an existing name, you'll be prompted to merge the two files or folders. For folders, the contents will be merged and for files they appear as two versions of the same file in the cloud - the version which was modified more recently is considered the latest version). This will ensure that the file or folder is synchronized properly.

  2. To prevent this situation from arising, find out which users machine uploaded the 'short name' version of the files and folders and disable the 8.3 file name creation mechanism on the machine by following the steps in this article

  3. We also recommend upgrading to v9.2.5+ of Desktop Sync for improved handling of paths with the 8.3 naming convention.


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