[xplorer▓] Ś A question of filenames
home blog 16 May 2010

Users of the free xplorer▓ lite in far eastern and other countries with complex language locales (e.g. Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, Bulgarian etc) sometimes complain that some filenames won't show up properly but display full of question marks. For instance ┼╦╦ă═╔╩┴.TXT will show as ????????.TXT. Characters in the local language are replaced with ? and you can't read the filename. Users with the professional version on the other hand see the filenames properly.

This is not some plot to increase the sales of the professional version <g>. The cause of this problem is that xplorer▓ lite is plain text (ANSI) application whereas the professional version is UNICODE. If you refer to an older article you will see that the UNICODE standard allows for much more characters than plain ANSI (65536 vs just 256!). Interpreting numbers to language characters is much more straightforward under UNICODE.

The solution for xplorer▓ lite users is to setup properly the default code page for their locale (language) using the windows control panel. Open the Regional and Language Options applet and select the language for non-unicode programs to match your native language. There is a slight difference between windows XP and 7 as you can see from the snapshots to the right but the idea is the same: select the language that matches your filenames. This way you fix both xplorer▓ lite but you will make your life easier in other departments, e.g. your media player will show the correct subtitles for the movies you watch. Note that to see and change the default language you must be logged on as administrator. XP setting W7 setting

This simple trick will solve most of your language-specific problems. If you manage files with names in many languages, e.g. both chinese and japanese, then some question marks will remain. In such complex scenarios only the professional xplorer▓ will cope.

Addendum: If you are on Windows 10, you can try the free lite version from MS Store, which is Unicode and shows localized filenames properly.

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