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Why does Windows XP (during a rename operation) report file already exists when it doesn't?

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From the command-line:

E:\menu\html\tom\val\.svn\tmp\text-base>ver  Microsoft Windows [Version 5.2.3790]  E:\menu\html\tom\val\.svn\tmp\text-base>dir  Volume in drive E is DATA  Volume Serial Number is F047-F44B   Directory of E:\menu\html\tom\val\.svn\tmp\text-base  12/23/2010  04:36 PM    <DIR>          . 12/23/2010  04:36 PM    <DIR>          .. 12/23/2010  04:01 PM                 0 wtf.com3.csv.svn-base                1 File(s)              0 bytes                2 Dir(s)  170,780,262,400 bytes free  E:\menu\html\tom\val\.svn\tmp\text-base>rename wtf.com3.csv.svn-base com3.csv.svn-base A duplicate file name exists, or the file cannot be found.  E:\menu\html\tom\val\.svn\tmp\text-base>dir  Volume in drive E is DATA  Volume Serial Number is F047-F44B   Directory of E:\menu\html\tom\val\.svn\tmp\text-base  12/23/2010  04:36 PM    <DIR>          . 12/23/2010  04:36 PM    <DIR>          .. 12/23/2010  04:01 PM                 0 wtf.com3.csv.svn-base                1 File(s)              0 bytes                2 Dir(s)  170,753,064,960 bytes free  E:\menu\html\tom\val\.svn\tmp\text-base>  E:\menu\html\tom\val\.svn\tmp\text-base>dir /ah  Volume in drive E is DATA  Volume Serial Number is F047-F44B   Directory of E:\websvn_menu\html\tom\val\.svn\tmp\text-base  File Not Found 

I don't know what to do about this, as there is no other file in this directory. Why does Windows XP report that there is already a file here named com3.csv.svn-base when there is clearly no other file here?

UPDATE: This is happening on my work machine, WinXP 64-bit. But it also fails on my home machine, WinXP 32-bit. However, in linux, it works just fine. Maybe this is an NTFS filesystem bug?

Answers

Ding ding ding.

Windows and DOS have device names reserved as filenames that are present in every directory. COM3 is one of them. You're probably familiar with NUL, LPT1, CON (like COPY CON) etc. Your problem is that you're trying to rename it to COM3.anything.anything. Windows, which still has some DOS-era backwards compatabilities, will not allow you to name a file in a way to break that.

Wikipedia tells me that you should be able to use a long UNC like \\mycomputer\E$\menu\html\tom\val\.svn\tmp\text-base\com3.csv.svn-base as your rename target.

Could there be a hidden file in the directory? Try "dir /ah" to show all hidden files. If there are no hidden files, run "chkdsk /f e:" to check for filesystem problems (this may require a reboot). If that doesn't fix the problem, you may have bad sectors o the hard drive. Run "chkdsk /r e:" to check for bad sectors.

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