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From "David D'Antonio" <>
Subject Re: NT and case sensitivity
Date Mon, 06 Jul 1998 15:25:40 GMT

-----Original Message-----
From: Marc Slemko <>
To: <>
Date: Friday, July 03, 1998 9:40 PM
Subject: Re: NT and case sensitivity

>On Fri, 3 Jul 1998, Alexei Kosut wrote:
>> On Fri, 3 Jul 1998, Marc Slemko wrote:
>> > Cute.  MS has defined NT, as a whole, to be case insensitive for
>> > filenames.  However, NTFS is case sensitive and you can create files with
>> > the same name but differing case.  Win32 apps, however, can only access
>> > one of them.
>> Hmm! Actually, Windows is not alone in this problem. The MacOS and other
>> OSes that have case-insensitive filenames have the same problem when using
>> case-sensitive filesystems. Of which there are many (including HFS+,
>> IIRC).
>> I mean, while NTFS is a special case, you can't expect NT to do something
>> reliably correct when it expects "Foo" and "foo" to be the same thing, but
>> the Unix server you're accessing with Samba thinks they're different...
>No, but I can expect that a filesystem designed for NT (hence the odd
>name NTFS) that is case sensitive is lame.  Well, more like NT is lame
>because it isn't, but...
>NT implements case sensitivity in its POSIX layer, so POSIX apps can
>create files that Win32 apps can't properly access.

This is needed for all those "legacy" programs that users will eventually give
up when they see the light. :-)

>Not only that, but NT pretends it is case sensitive by showing things in
>mixed case.

This is only the Explorer, I believe. Doing a "dir" on the command line shows
the "real" case. NTFS is "case preserving" in that it will maintain and return
the case the user (or the program) used when the file is created/renamed.
But it is case insenstive when it comes to actually checking filenames.

I believe that both of these features were in HPFS (OS/2's native filesystem)
from which NTFS was derived.

>I really have trouble seeing why it wouldn't be worth the tiny extra pain
>(since you have long names to deal with anyway) to have case sensitive

I'd guess that it is because they didn't see the need. Remember, these are
the people who gave us DOS 8.3 filenames! Also, case sensitivity can be a major
pain (try explaining how Foo and foo are different to some executive type :-)
is only used by those "legacy" OSes...;-)


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