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Re: Gremlin files on floppy disks after using Windows Explorer

Posted By: John Gruener <>
Date: Saturday, 22 August 1998, at 7:30 p.m.

In Response To: Gremlin files on floppy disks after using Windows Explorer (Will Hafer)

> I'm troubled by mysterious files that have been turning up
> on the floppy disks after they've been used in the drive in the
> Windows machine. These files all have certain characteristics in
> common: The are all 0 KB in size, the file names consist of two
> letters, lower case, with the first letter being a lower case "a."
> They also have the peculiar habit of appending to their two letter
> filenames random snippets from the XTREE screen display, like line
> drawing characters or the last 6 letter of other files' names.

> These files only show up under XTREE. Neither DOS DIR nor Windows
> Explorer is able to see them.

> When I've tried to open, move or delete these mystery files,
> Xtree informs me that they are read-only, hidden, archive, system
> files. But when I try to change the attributes I get an "access"
> denied message.

> When I run Norton Utilities it claims to find a FAT error associated
> with these files and also claims to correct it. But after running
> Norton the files sill show up under XTREE and resolutely refuse
> to be tampered with in any way.

> The only way I've figured out for getting rid of them is to
> move all other files out of the directory and then use the DOS DELTREE
> command to nuke the directory. That seems to work, but what a nuisance!
> And the fact that Norton claims to be finding FAT errors disturbs
> me.

> I suspect that either Windows Explorer or Windows 95 is writing
> these files to my floppies since they only appear on disks that
> have been used in the Windows machine.

> Does anyone know what these files are for, how they get on
> my floppies, how to get rid of them and most important, how to prevent
> them in the first place?

The problem here is that Windows 95 is writing Long File Names to your floppy. The new long-file-name structure was cleverly designed so that the old DOS operating system would not be confused by it, but old DOS programs which bypass the DOS access and look at the directory directly get confused. These include XTree and Norton Utilities. Even if you delete the files in Windows 95, the old DOS programs can be confused in certain situations. What you are seeing are pieces of the long-file-name entries. Using ZTree on the Windows 95 machine will not solve the problem on the DOS machine.

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