My career in technology

When bulk uploading a large number of documents into SharePoint 2010, a user ran into an unexpected error.

The file *filename* is too large for the destinatoin file system.

But the maximum file size had not been changed from the default, 50 MB.  (See the file size in the error message?  Less than 10 MB.)  What is up with that?

As there were over 100 files to upload at once (~1600 files), the user had opened the library in Explorer to be able to upload the files expediently.  During the upload, the error shown above was displayed.

Well as it turns out, subsequently trying to upload the file individually via the web interface provided a more valid excuse.

Invalid File Name

The error message in this interface says that it can’t upload because it has an “Invalid File Name”.

If you look closely at either error message, you will see a percent symbol (%) in the file name.  For some reason. when uploading a file with a % in the filename into SharePoint 2010 via Explorer, you will be correctly told you can’t upload the file, but for the wrong reason.

This is very odd, since the user also got the correct message for three other files with file name problems.

The file name you specified is not valid or too long.

These files had either an ampersand (&) or a pound/hash symbol (#) in their file names.

For all files, removing the offending character resolved the errors.


Here is a list of the illegal characters.  (Link helpfully provided by Scott Krahn.  Thanks Scott!)  I’ll try to update with tests of other characters and let you know if any of them get incorrectly flagged.

Update 2

I ran a test of the other file names that appear on the list.  Two other invalid characters provide the erroneous “File is too large” error, and four others prompt an error that says the file type is blocked.

File type has been blocked

If you start a file name with a period (as in “.my file.txt”), use a left or right brace ({ or }) , or a tilde (~), you will get an error saying the file type is blocked.

In addition to using the percent (%), if you use two periods sequentially in a file name (.., as in “my..file.txt”) or end you file name with a period (for example, “my file..txt”, which in essence is also two periods in a row), you will get the incorrect “File is too large” error.


Comments on: "File Too Large? Not So Fast…" (3)

  1. Buddy Weber said:

    Another challenging symbol is the so called “long dash” also known as the “em dash”: –

    In MS Word, this dash is created when you type a word followed by a space, then a dash, another space, another word and then a space. At the completion of the second word, the normal dash becomes elongated. It can also be created by holding the “Alt” key and typing “0150” on the numeric key pad. If this long dash is copied and pasted into a file name, it will pass normal file name rules but will fail upon uploading to SharePoint.

    • Interesting. In testing (using SharePoint 2010), I did not get an error message when trying to upload a document with an emdash in the filename, and I tried using Explorer, single file upload and multi-file upload.

      Under what circumstances are you getting an error, and what is the error you get?

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