Can't copy file names that include slashes, commas, etc.


I’m trying to copy files from my old Mac G5 tower (about 10 years old).  But my copy aborts with an error message anytime it tries to copy a file name that includes a special character.  Is there a way to get around this?

To clarify:  When it runs into a file with special characters, it gives me the error message that the file name is either too long or has special characters.  The problem is that when I click “okay” to acknowledge the error (no other option), the copying is aborted. 

Any ideas? 



Put quotes around the file names.

Hi Ed,

Thanks for your response.  I wish it were that easy, but I am copying about 100gb/13,000 files from my G5 tower, and to change the file names in question would be a very tedious job.  In fact, I did try changing some of the original file names to not include any special characters, and that does work, but there are just too many instances where I’d have to do this.  Not to mention, there are files inside of folders inside of other folders, and locating all of the special characters would be a huge job. 

Any other thoughts anyone?



What OS are you using to copy the files?  Are you using Windows Explorer or some app?


I am just using the finder in my mac (OS version 10.3.9) to drag the files over to a Sandisk 128gb Ultra Fit thumbdrive.


Oh!  Well I guess you will have to wait for someone with Mac experience to help you then.  I have none.  Sorry.  

BTW  You should post your question in an Apple/Mac forum.  Lots of experienced people there that can help you.   Good luck.  :slight_smile:

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Thanks so much for your help, Ed.


the special characters are probably not supported by the file system on the drive. There is nothing you can do about this short of renaming the files or possibly changing the file system on the drive. You Mac HDD is most likely formatted in MAC OS extended journaled but the drive is probably in FAT32 or exFAT. Each of these file systems have different characters which cannot be used in a file name. here is a FAQ for best practices for file naming 

If you do not want to go through the trouble of renaming the files you can try reformatting the drive using disk utility on a Mac. When you format use the file system MAC OS extended journaled. Once this is done it should support the same file names as the HDD on your Mac. The down side of reformatting is cross platform compatibility. If you do this it will only be compatible with Mac computers. If you connect it to a Windows machine or something like a DVD player etc it will not be able to read the format and your files will not be accessible. 

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Thanks, drlucky. 

I will experiment with reformatting the thumbdrive to Mac OS extended journaled.   I appreciate the tip!