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Windows: Why is it not possible to create the file "nul.txt"?

Question by Larosso | 16/05/2017 at 19:17

I have tried to create a file named "nul.txt" today. Strangely, this is not working and I always get the meaningless error message "The specified device name is invalid" when trying to rename an existing file to this name. My operating system is Windows.

Can someone explain this behavior? And what does a file have to do with a device or a device name?


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The name "NUL" is (like some other names) a reserved word for a device on Windows so that filenames with "NUL" are not allowed. The file extension as well as uppercase and lowercase writing are not playing any role: nul.txt is not allowed like nul.doc, nul.x or any other combination.

Because this issue is a bit more complex, I have created an info describing why the names con, aux, nul, com1 or lpt1 cannot be used as file or folder names on Windows. If you want, you can learn more about this topic there.
16/05/2017 at 23:40

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