Mixing short form filenames with long filenames can cause problems

To maintain compatibility with old software, Windows stores the short version of a filename along with the actual (long) filename. For example, a file called Example Filename.txt may also have a short filename EXAMPL~1.TXT. The exact short filename used is decided by Windows (depending on the name of other files in the folder). If there was another file in the same folder called Example Filename 2.txt then its short filename may be EXAMPL~2.TXT. The numbering used in the short names is decided by Windows and does not necessarily follow any numbering convention used in the long names (thus, Example Filename 4.txt might actually have the short name EXAMPL~3.TXT, and so on)

Problems can occur if a folder contains a file with a long filename, and also other files that have a short form filename as their long filenames. For example, a folder may contain the following files (note that these are the actual filenames and are not the short filenames)

Example filename.txt

If a profile is created to copy these files to another folder then you may be surprised to find only two files in the destination folder, or the same files but with the filenames swapped. To avoid this kind of problem please do not use short form filenames with long filenames.

SyncBack does not use short filenames but it can be configured to copy them:

  • Modify your profile
  • Switch to Expert mode
  • Go to the Copy/Delete -> Advanced settings page
  • Enable the option Copy short filenames. Note that this setting is ignored when used with FTP, compression, the cloud, etc. Also, enabling this setting will have an affect on performance..


In modern versions of Windows, short filenames are not enabled by default. To check if the volume (drive) even supports it, start an elevated command prompt and enter fsutil 8dot3name query C: