Sidestep a Windows 98 file-copying glitch by using DOS

Windows Explorer's graphical environment makes managing your files a snap. But if you're a Windows 98 user who wants to copy files larger than 2 GB, you're out of luck. Find out how to get around this limit.

In this latest installment from the Technical Q&A, a member has encountered a problem with Windows Explorer. While this handy utility usually makes copying files a simple task, TechRepublic member Fred3137 recently discovered a serious limitation. He writes, “What’s the scoop on the limit, if [there is] any, on copying large files from one computer to another over a peer-to-peer network, if the file is over 2 GB?”

He adds that any attempt to copy such a large file produces the following Windows error message: Cannot Create Or Replace <filename>. The Parameter Is Incorrect.

Fred3137 asks, “Is there a way around this? If not, what program would you recommend to do the job?” As for his OS, Fred is running Windows 98SE.

A copying catch
Joseph Moore referred Fred3137 to TechNet article Q318293: "Windows 98 Explorer Cannot Copy Large Files." According to this article, the error message Fred3137 encountered will appear when Windows Explorer is used to copy a file that is 2 GB (or 2,147,483,648 bytes) or larger in size.

The article says the error is a result of a problem in the Windows 98 and Windows 98SE versions of the Shell32.dll file, where values greater than 2 GB are interpreted as negative numbers.

In Windows 98, the shell file originates from Internet Explorer (IE) version 4.0, but in Windows 98SE, it is generated from IE 4.01 Service Pack 2. Changes to the newer shell derived from Microsoft IE 5 eliminated the problem for Windows 2000 and Windows Me. However, those with 98 are stuck. Installing a newer version of IE won't solve the problem because later versions of IE won't upgrade the Shell32.dll on platforms except Windows 2000 and Windows Me. There is a workaround, though.

The power of the DOS prompt
Members DKlippert and Anna777 both suggested  that Fred3137 use DOS commands to solve his dilemma. DKlippert writes, “Use XCOPY at a DOS prompt.” Anna777 agrees and posts the following response, “Just use COPY at the command prompt. It's a Windows Explorer limitation.” Remember, though, that neither of these DOS commands supports long file names.

How do you handle your files?
Still using the COPY command or do you rely on the Windows Explorer utility? Post a comment to this article. Have you discovered a bug with your OS and want to find a remedy? Visit our Technical Q&A and post your problem.


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