File Names with special characters Mac vs. PC

This is slightly off topic from WavevLab and audio specifically but I’m not sure a better forum to ask on at the moment, and maybe there is some slight WaveLab involvement.

Over the years, I’ve had a few projects where the client tells me a song is missing from the zip file I send them. After the project is approved (usually via DDP), I’ll send zip files of all the WAV/mp3 files they need. In cases where a file name has a special character such as a question mark or something similar, there are times when Windows/PC users cannot see or access that file after the zip file is extracted.

I use all Mac computers here and it’s never a problem for me or other Mac users, but if the end user happens to be on Windows then it’s likely that after extracting the zip file, any files with unique characters are just not there.

Is this a Windows weakness or is this because of how OS X and/or WaveLab adds these characters in the rendered file names?

I’m certainly no expert on this, but Windows does not allow and cannot handle certain characters in file names. Maybe there are more, but these are listed when you try to use one: ‘?’, ‘/’, ‘’, ‘:’, ‘*’, ‘’’, ‘<’, ‘>’, and ‘|’.

Yes, that’s basically what I’ve been finding and I’m also not a Windows expert. I was just seeing if there is something I could do better or different other than just omitting those characters in file names.

A cool WaveLab feature would be one that omits these characters that Windows doesn’t allow when rendering WAV and mp3 files. I still want these characters present in the metadata and CD-Text of course, but it would be a nice “set it and forget it” option to turn on so you don’t accidentally render files with characters that might be a problem on Windows. Maybe this already exists somewhere in WaveLab?

Maybe I’m wrong, but I think the OS and the Zip programs are supposed to take care of the file name conversions. Maybe they were using a third-party program to unzip that wasn’t taking care of this properly (?) Or an OS version with a bug (?)

I don’t know. It’s happened a few times over the years though. I always use the native OS X zipping/compress tool but of course, I have no control over what Windows users use to unzip.

While this stuff makes sense to most of us here, it would be nice to just avoid the situation all together for those less tech savvy clients that think there is a huge problem because a file is missing and freak out.

I just tried this with a wav file with a question mark in the name, and other wav files in a folder. Zipped the folder using Mac built-in.

It unzips fine on Windows 10 with the free program 7-Zip. The question mark in the filename is replaced with an underscore.

But the file is not there if you unzip with the built-in Windows 10 unzip.

That seems messed up after all these years.

Thanks, this is good info to have on hand but I will also potentially be more careful with file names that have these characters.

As mentioned, it’d be nice if WaveLab had a setting to omit these characters from file names when rendering just to be safe.

Thanks again for checking on this.

You’re right, it would be good to omit those characters in the first place.

Because if you have another file with an underscore already where the question mark is, 7-Zip will then ask you how you want to rename the question mark file, so it gets kind of overly complicated.

But mostly because using the built-in Windows Unzip you’re going to get “missing” files.

I know this isn’t directly a WaveLab problem but it’s at least worth considering. With my workflow, the source clip names are populated to the montage markers which are then easily pushed to the CD-Text which is then easily pushed to the ID3 metadata, so that’s all good and very easy.

The issue comes in when you go to render a WAV or mp3 of each “CD Track” as you normally would. The file names are based on the marker names (plus a naming scheme if you choose) which is generally great but this is where it would be good to omit any potentially problematic characters automatically or transpose them to an underscore or something more universal.

I take note of this suggestion for the future.

I have literally just had something linked to this occur: carelessly named file created and compressed on mac … WinZip Pro on Windoze shows message about “skipping file: unable to create a sensible filename”.