Microsoft small business knowledge base

Article ID: 177506 - Last Review: January 22, 2007 - Revision: 1.2

This article was previously published under Q177506


When you attempt to create, save, or rename a file, folder, or shortcut, you may receive one of the following error messages:
A filename cannot contain any of the following characters:
\ / : * ? " < > |
This filename is not valid.
The above file name is invalid.


The characters listed in the first error message in the Symptoms section cannot be used in file, folder, or shortcut names.


To create, save, or rename a file, folder, or shortcut, use a valid character that is not listed in the first error message listed in the Symptoms section of this article.


You can rename the system desktop icons (such as My Computer, My Documents, Internet Explorer, and Network Neighborhood) using the invalid characters. The icons are system objects and do not follow the same naming convention as files, folders, and shortcuts.

The TAB key is accepted in the names of these system icons, but the tab is displayed as a space.

Characters that are valid for naming files, folders, or shortcuts include any combination of letters (A-Z) and numbers (0-9), plus the following special characters:
   ^   Accent circumflex (caret)
   &   Ampersand
   '   Apostrophe (single quotation mark)
   @   At sign
   {   Brace left
   }   Brace right
   [   Bracket opening
   ]   Bracket closing
   ,   Comma
   $   Dollar sign
   =   Equal sign
   !   Exclamation point
   -   Hyphen
   #   Number sign
   (   Parenthesis opening
   )   Parenthesis closing
   %   Percent
   .   Period
   +   Plus
   ~   Tilde
   _   Underscore

  • Microsoft Windows 95
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Enterprise Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition
kberrmsg kbprb kbui KB177506
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