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Definition: long file names

File names that exceed the common eight plus three (8.3) character limitation used in DOS and Windows 3.1. Long file names are supported in Unix, Mac and Windows starting with Windows 95.

For compatibility with the 8.3 DOS format, Windows automatically converts long file and folder names into short names and maintains both forms. It creates pseudo short names with a suffix made up of the tilde character (~) and a numeric digit. Names that start with the same letters are differentiated by incrementing the digit at the end as in the following examples. See name mangling.

 Long file name          Short file name

 manuscriptA.doc         manusc~1.doc
 manuscriptB.doc         manusc~2.doc
 manuscript C.doc        manusc~3.doc
 manuscripts D & E.doc   manusc~4.doc

 Long folder name        Short folder name

 Program Files           progra~1