Can't install in a folder location that contains spaces

When installing POPFile (0.22.2 or later) on Windows, you may get an error message “To install on the 'C' drive please select a folder location that does not contain spaces”.

Technical information

Up until the 0.21 release POPFile's configuration data was always stored in the same folder as the program. The 0.21 release introduced some limited multi-user features which allow the configuration data to be stored separately. The POPFILE_ROOT and POPFILE_USER environment variables are used to define the locations of the POPFile program and the user's configuration data (the 'User Data').

The installer ensures that these two environment variables are properly set before POPFile is started. Although POPFile is not limited to using short filenames (8.3 format names) it does not work properly if the values in these environment variables contain spaces. The installer uses the short filename (SFN) format for these variables as a simple solution to this problem (SFN format names do not contain spaces, e.g. the SFN version of 'C:\Program Files\POPFile' is usually 'C:\PROGRA~1\POPFILE').

By default Windows systems support the SFN format so whenever a file is created using a long file name (LFN) Windows will create a unique SFN alias for the file. Therefore it should not matter where POPFile is installed. However on some systems this SFN support may have been disabled therefore the 0.22.2 (or later) installer checks for SFN support and will display a message like this if it has been disabled:

To install on the 'C' drive please select a folder location which does not contain spaces

There is a small overhead involved in generating these SFN aliases on NTFS-based systems but if there are folders containing a large number of files with similar names this overhead can become significant so many Windows tweaking/speedup utilities will disable SFN support. For most Windows software this causes no problems, but it can have a negative impact on some software (mostly older programs).

Here is some information from Microsoft's Windows XP Resource Kit:

“Although disabling 8.3 name creation increases NTFS performance under Windows XP Professional … some third-party programs cannot be installed on NTFS volumes if 8.3 names are disabled.”


  • For new installations the easiest thing to do is install POPFile using paths which do not contain spaces. The installer will create the chosen path if it does not exist.
  • If you are upgrading an existing 0.21 or later installation which was created before SFN support was disabled, you can re-enable SFN support to allow you to use the installer to perform the upgrade.
  • If you are upgrading an existing pre-0.21 installation, you can enable SFN support to allow you to use the installer to perform the upgrade.
  • If you are upgrading an existing installation you can leave SFN support disabled and move your existing POPFile folder (and 'User Data' folder, if 0.21 or later) to new locations which do not contain spaces. Then select these new locations when running the installer to perform the upgrade.

You can disable SFN support again after upgrading POPFile (see 'Additional Info' below).

Enabling SFN support on Windows XP or Vista

If you are using Windows XP or Vista, you can use the fsutil command to enable SFN support.

Login as an administrator, open the Command Prompt, then type

fsutil behavior set disable8dot3 0

and push the enter key.

For more information about the fsutil utility, see Microsoft TechNet Command Reference - Fsutil.

Enabling SFN support on Windows 2000

If you are using Windows 2000, you need to modify the registry to change the setting (incorrectly modifying the registry can cause problems, be careful to follow the instructions, and do so at your own risk).

  1. Open the Registry Editor (regedit). (From the Start button, select Run and type 'regedit' and click 'OK'.)
  2. Locate the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem.
  3. Change the value of NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation entry from '1' to '0'.
    1. Right click the NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation entry and select 'Edit'.
    2. Type '0' in the 'Data' field and click 'OK'.
  4. Quit Registry Editor and restart your computer.

For more information:

Additional Info

For those who want to keep the performance gain of disabling SFN creation, you may be able to disable SFNs once POPFile has been installed. Once the SFN is created POPFile will work properly even once SFN creation is turned off. You still get the same warning again next time you upgrade POPFile though. The installer is unable to tell if the SFN already exists, only that SFN support is enabled or disabled so you will have to enable SFNs again then.

See also:

HowTos : Using POPFile on Windows Platforms

troubleshooting/disable8dot3.txt · Last modified: 2009/03/10 23:45 by

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