Mac-to-PC File Names
March 31, 2005 7:52 AM   Subscribe

I am trying to transfer a large number of files (mostly word documents and excel files) from older Macs (G3s and one '02 iMac) to a Windows Server 2003. The problem is that most of these files were created several years back on OS 9.x and have file names with characters the server does not to recognize as valid. This then stops the transfer of all files, shutting down the whole transfer. Short of going through 1,000s of files one by one to check the names are valid or moving each file over one-by-one, what can I do? Does anyone have any suggestions or experience?
posted by jeffe to Technology (7 answers total)
How about: Stuff them on the mac, move the archive, unstuff on the PC.
posted by omnidrew at 8:08 AM on March 31, 2005

Omnidrew -

That is a great idea.
posted by AllesKlar at 8:29 AM on March 31, 2005


When you unstuff under Windows, the long / weird OS9 file names will likely get garfed up in some mysterious way, but at least the files will be where they're needed.
posted by omnidrew at 8:34 AM on March 31, 2005

How about: Stuff them on the mac, move the archive, unstuff on the PC.

You might want to make sure that you use the same application on each platform. Stuffit is available for both, and may well handle the wierdy filenames a bit better. Plus you can examine the archive for dodgy filenames before you expand it.
posted by gaby at 11:09 AM on March 31, 2005

A vaguely psuedo-code example. You could feed it via a directory polling method even, further automating the whole process.
while (files.hasNext()) {
     thisFile =;
     try {
          ftpMethod( thisFile );
     catch (Exception e) {
          print"Whoa, Nelly: " + thisFile.fullPath(); + " is now " +someIncrementedString;
          thisFile.setName( someIncrementedString );
          ftpMethod( thisFile );
I'd be a little shy of the stuff/unstuff method or at least investigate the results to be sure you don't end up with a bunch of corrupted bits mascarading as a useful file.
posted by Fezboy! at 11:28 AM on March 31, 2005

I should add that I was burned by just such a maneuver about four years ago. I made the transfer but didn't bother to check the resultant files. Years later I try to access one and all I got was gibberish and the original HD was long gone. Lost most of my undergraduate writing in that fiasco.
posted by Fezboy! at 11:51 AM on March 31, 2005

Best answer: Use A Better Finder Rename on an OS X machine first.

GraphicConverter, which works on OS 9 in some versions, can also mass-modify filenames.
posted by joeclark at 2:26 PM on March 31, 2005

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