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My Firefox automatically shortens the names of the files I download. For example, 231546798_20110608.pdf becomes 2315.pdf.

I later realized that it may relate to the long name of the path into which I try to download the file. The path is ridiculously long:

/windows-d/academic discipline/study objects/areas/human aspects/social sciences/communication/ways of communication/way of spread, ie electronic media and communication/application/telephone communication/examples/cell phone/me/verizon/bill/

I then build a directory named hahaunder the above long path. Note that haha is exactly as long as the name of the shortened file name (extension pdf is excluded) . It turns out that Firefox doesn't download the file into directory haha, although I specify it to. But I can download the file to other directory with much shorter path name, and have no problem with copying the file into haha.

I wonder how to explain the strange behaviour of Firefox?


  • My OS is Ubuntu 10.10, and Firefox is 11.0.
  • The problem here is similar to my previous question, but there I asked about the OS, and here I talked about Firefox.
share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by jasonwryan, rahmu, slm, terdon, Joseph R. Sep 18 '13 at 19:14

  • This question does not appear to be about Unix or Linux within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This question appears to be off-topic because it is about Windows. – jasonwryan Sep 18 '13 at 6:52
What OS are you on? What version of Firefox, what have you set for your Download settings? – Drav Sloan Sep 18 '13 at 7:39
This question appears to be off-topic because it is about Firefox, and not necessarily Unix or Linux. – rahmu Sep 18 '13 at 8:23
This would be a better fit for Super User. – terdon Sep 18 '13 at 15:43

By /windows-d I assume this file system is either FAT32 or NTFS. If so, seems that you are hitting the maximum file name length of 255 characters.

But this sounds like a Firefox limit, testing with an external HDD formatted in NTFS I was able to successfully create very deep directories which exceeded the 255-char limit. (Probably Windows will give an error when try to access it, though).

share|improve this answer
+1. Thanks! (1) It is NTFS, shared between Ubuntu and Windows on my same machine. (2) But I can still create arbitrary long directories under that long path, and copy the name-shorten file into it. Why is it now not subject to the limit of NTFS? (3) It seems to me it is the restriction of Firefox, not of Ubuntu, because of the same reason in (2), i.e. I can still create arbitrarily long directories under that long path. – Tim Apr 1 '12 at 0:27
I would be inclined to think it's a Firefox restriction, then. I tested here with an NTFS-formatted hard disk, and was able to create very long paths (probably Windows will give an error when trying to read them, but NTFS-3G doesn't care) – Renan Apr 1 '12 at 0:37
Does Ubuntu use NTFS-3G as driver to use NTFS file system created under Windows? – Tim Apr 1 '12 at 1:49
@Renan "(Probably Windows will give an error when try to access it, though)." It will, for sure. Because to my knowledge, though allowed in the specifications (4096 characters max.!), it's artificially limited in the Windows kernel so that you cannot exceed 250 (or 255) characters in path names. Microsoft once said this is to be compatible with old applications, but IMHO it's pointless: who'd still be using 10-year-old software on their Windows? – syntaxerror Sep 18 '13 at 3:10

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