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Why You Can't Name A File CON In Windows

  • Publicado em 19 Abr 2020
  • The short answer is "backwards compatibility". The long answer is... well, it's the rest of this video.
    MORE BASICS: brclip.com/user/playlist?list...
    Written with Sean Elliott SeanMElliott/
    Graphics by William Marler wmad.co.uk
    Audio mix by Graham Haerther haerther.net/
    I'm at tomscott.com
    on Twitter at tomscott
    on Facebook at tomscott
    and on Instagram as tomscottgo

Comentários • 12 241

  • Kelvin
    Kelvin 2 anos atrás +34238

    You've basically made everyone try name a file CON, good job

    • Ethan Smith
      Ethan Smith Dia atrás

      That is a power you cannot buy

    • Madara UCHIHA
      Madara UCHIHA 5 dias atrás


    • SargeDarge
      SargeDarge 26 dias atrás


    • willisverynice
      willisverynice Mês atrás

      @ElectriczBuilds here before 300 replies, get pwned n00b.

    • Merijn
      Merijn Mês atrás

      @Squig can't open, move, copy, delete or anything with it

  • centerflag982
    centerflag982 Anos atrás +2354

    The idea that fixing a date bug from nearly four decades ago could wreck a major company's operations (even temporarily) definitely falls into the existentially terrifying side of the tech industry

    • Ian Visser
      Ian Visser 20 dias atrás

      You think that's bad? How about the fact that for 100+ years of records, the date is wrong?

    • EXYZT
      EXYZT Mês atrás +2

      @Graphite except that, as many others have already pointed out, that wasn't because problems weren't going to happen, but because there were people working day in and day out fixing the bugs, and the most important cases were relatively simple to patch up.

    • dstblj 52
      dstblj 52 2 meses atrás +7

      @Dank AnywhoMost of the issues were on bank end systems things like ahci had a fairly well documented push to avoid those issues, I believe travel port was in a similar spot

    • centerflag982
      centerflag982 2 meses atrás +1

      @Dank Anywho You're clearly so willfully ignorant of the way the industry works that it's not worth even trying to explain

    • Kokon
      Kokon 2 meses atrás

      Because Windows and Microsoft is trash

  • FramlingDammit
    FramlingDammit 11 meses atrás +710

    I used to work for Microsoft, on Visual Studio. At one point, I had to put in, by my accounting, 112 hours over 11 straight days running a high-pressure last minute test pass to make sure we weren't about to break XP targeting (as in, could you write and build software that ran on XP?) with our next update.
    This was something like 2 years after the Windows division had themselves stopped supporting XP.
    So sometimes THE SAME company has very different definitions of "within reason."

    • Evgeny Fishgalov
      Evgeny Fishgalov 2 meses atrás +24

      Well. As an end user, this is one of those rare times where I should say, it was kind of nice of Microsoft.

    • vatum20
      vatum20 2 meses atrás

      is this some kind of Microsoft trick

    • Seth's Channel
      Seth's Channel 2 meses atrás

      Why are you asking this

    • the end of the start
      the end of the start 2 meses atrás +4

      Did you get overtime tho?

  • Jonathan Smith
    Jonathan Smith Anos atrás +720

    Ah memories of playing with DOS back in the day.
    'Copy con lpt1', plus a dot matrix printer, turned your computer into a typewriter :D
    Instead of copying a text file to the printer, like you talked about, you're copying the console (i.e. whatever you're typing on the keyboard) to the printer. And since dot matrix printers (in their text mode) print out each character as it's received, rather than waiting for a whole line or page to be sent, that command will have it happily printing out each character that you type, as you type it.

    • WildCard65
      WildCard65 25 dias atrás

      @ArcardyArcardus Hey, curious what happens if you send ASCII "NUL", "EOT", "BEL", "DC[1-4]", "SYN", "CAN" to the printer?

    • Archie
      Archie Mês atrás

      @Blair Lohnes 8 months late, but you could use something like a SNBC BTP-M300 to try it. Bars and restaurants use them for kitchen and drink ticket printers.

    • Anders Juel Jensen
      Anders Juel Jensen Mês atrás +2

      @ArcardyArcardus Nice that you came back and gave the result of the experiment :D

    • ArcardyArcardus
      ArcardyArcardus 3 meses atrás +18

      My laser printer is turning on. It says "WAITING | PARALLEL". When I press the green button to confirm, it prints out everything I have typed in so far :D

    • Jonathan Smith
      Jonathan Smith 4 meses atrás +10

      @ArcardyArcardus Laser printers need to print a full page at a time; so normally they'll buffer anything received over the LPT port until it either fills an entire page or you instruct it (possibly by a special command, possibly by buttons on the printer) to prints its current partial buffer.
      So best guess is nothing will happen until you type in a whole lot and then the printer will fire up and print the entire page full of your typing.

  • Chloe Webb
    Chloe Webb 10 meses atrás +273

    This is the exact reason why I always use some version of windows and have never switched to mac, even though I love the workflow that my friend has setup on her mac when producing audio and doing art projects. I am constantly hooking up old junk and using super old audio devices with very old cables, and its nice to be able to still hook up old things to run within the new software i use. Plus when I'm bored I start pulling out all my old computers, audio mixers, synthesizers, drum machines, and all manner of random junk in my computer room, just to play with it all and mess around. It's also awesome that I can still run DOS in windows ten to play old ass video games ^^

    • T. Castro
      T. Castro 9 meses atrás +1

      I also run obsolete stuff quite frequently, most often games. Windows is excellent for that. I still have a 32-bit OS here 😅
      I couldn't even set up Mac System 7, too confusing. Meanwhile, I can usually sort out compatibility problems on Windows.
      As for audio software, I once wanted to run ancient versions of Ableton Live 🤭

    • Adrienne Clarke
      Adrienne Clarke 9 meses atrás +4

      Same. And even though it's clunky, I still like my old video recorders with the tapes. I bought boxes of tapes. It's good to be able to still download all that stuff.

    • Blair Lohnes
      Blair Lohnes 10 meses atrás +1

      Agreed. But now I have a house full of old Macs because I need them and old Windows PC's because they are cool... I swear I'm not a hoarder.

    • gold nutter
      gold nutter 10 meses atrás +7

      ah now i remember why i started commenting and reading at the same time
      check out NDC conferences if you like smart people WOW they taught me so much just by putting their videos online. LESSONS FROM APOLLO and ARE THERE ANY QUESTIONS are soooooooo good

    • gold nutter
      gold nutter 10 meses atrás +7

      VMware hell of a drug, always used to have a hardware device for "off book" work kinda thing.. but it has to be plugged in to access something
      doors swing both ways etc.. makes security take much longer than we all expected, heh
      good thing we have genius coders out there, much appreciate them
      It is awesome they added Linux on Windows you can actually create a very low risk env now

  • jyp
    jyp 2 anos atrás +37447

    Pro: You can name a file *PRO*
    Con: You can't name a file *CON*

    • Addison Brendtro
      Addison Brendtro Mês atrás

      linux has a /dev/ folder

    • Xnoob Speakable
      Xnoob Speakable 2 meses atrás

      You CAN using administrator command prompt
      It will behave weirdly tho

    • GG
      GG 2 meses atrás

      Comedy genius

    • Comedy
      Comedy 6 meses atrás

      That's because all the 'cons' come with Apple.

    • Mr. Pizza
      Mr. Pizza 9 meses atrás


  • Koolstr3
    Koolstr3 9 meses atrás +253

    Spot on and thank you for pointing this out for people. This is why I love Windows so much. The backwards compatibility is remarkable. My mother still manages her finances in a 2003 XP version of Microsoft Money that still runs on her latest build Windows 10 PC in 2021. I'd like to see a Mac user run an app from even the previous OS version, or worse yet, from a different architecture (M1 vs Intel vs PPC, SMH).

    • iDoGaming
      iDoGaming 2 meses atrás

      @Isaiah Howard you are welcme

    • Isaiah Howard
      Isaiah Howard 2 meses atrás

      @iDoGaming I was unaware of this, thanks.

    • iDoGaming
      iDoGaming 2 meses atrás +1

      @Isaiah Howard stop spreading fud. There is no 32bit crapdows 11, but syswow64
      (windows on windows64) has not been removed from 64 bit windows 11.
      Syswow64 is responsible for making 32bit apps work.

    • iDoGaming
      iDoGaming 2 meses atrás

      EndeavourOS (Linux) for the win.

    • JL1979
      JL1979 2 meses atrás +4

      I'm not saying that Apple is as good at backwards compatibility as windows, but you seem to not know that Apple have built in emulation (called rosetta) for X86 applications so they can run on their new ARM processors, and it does it incredibly well.

  • GrimYak
    GrimYak 11 meses atrás +256

    The US military is one of the MS customers that pays MS to support legacy OS, 2003 or even older. A lot of these military systems are mission critical so changing them isnt as easy as wiping the drive and installing a new one.

    • Game Channel
      Game Channel 8 meses atrás +2

      Nothing about the military is mission critical or critical at all. The US relies on the threat of military action, not the military action itself.

    • Cody Johannsen
      Cody Johannsen 9 meses atrás +5

      @I need no channel youtube! Hard to hack a floppy disk.

    • I need no channel youtube!
      I need no channel youtube! 9 meses atrás +24

      @Adrienne Clarke That is sort of the point of confidential information isnt it?
      You dont get to use say NASA's rockets either, but you still get the benefits of GPS.

    • Adrienne Clarke
      Adrienne Clarke 9 meses atrás +2

      So taxpayers are funding the development to use these older systems for the military but can't access the functionality themselves.
      That sound right

    • I need no channel youtube!
      I need no channel youtube! 10 meses atrás +29

      @Gábor Horváth Most nuclear silos run proprietary languages written more like 50-60 years ago, and few have more modern components than the old 8 inch floppies. I wouldnt be suprised if some of them, especially russian ones still use punch cards.

  • your forgotten sperm brother
    your forgotten sperm brother 9 meses atrás +47

    In 2018, after finalizing my thesis, I thought of naming the three individual files that I would send to my groupmates "CON", "GRAT", and "ULATIONS". We didn't have a file format or anything since we had to physically print and hardbound the manuscript, so I wanted the names to be lighthearted.
    CON.pdf wouldn't work and I got sucked into a rabbit hole of why files can't be named "CON". Ended up naming the files "CONG", "RAT", and "ULATIONS". This video reminded me of that time!

  • Noah Black
    Noah Black Anos atrás +464

    7:04 "If you change nothing, people will get bored, and move on to something else"
    Sports video game players: Allow us to introduce ourselves

    • kendal
      kendal 2 meses atrás

      yandere sim fans

    • KushClarkKent
      KushClarkKent 2 meses atrás

      I can't stop playing Madden 😭

    • Demi Viral
      Demi Viral 4 meses atrás +7

      @Billy Weed and gambling, they added in booster packs into their sports games. That's probably the biggest thing keeping that section of gaming alive and thriving.

    • Ernesto Arturo Mendoza Farfán
      Ernesto Arturo Mendoza Farfán 6 meses atrás +1

      chess moment

    • R - G - C
      R - G - C 8 meses atrás +1


  • John Foley
    John Foley Anos atrás +4587

    There was a weird thing in windows 95 where if you tried to run “c:/con/con” it would bring up the blue screen of death and you would have to restart the computer to get rid of it. It could be ran from a command prompt, or even embedded as an image source in html code. Before the bug was fixed, you could just email it to someone and shut down their computer.

    • My Real Username
      My Real Username 13 dias atrás

      @silicon hawk Tom himself made a video on it. It was a character longer than could be displayed in notifications so it crashed.

    • GhostMiner
      GhostMiner  13 dias atrás

      If you tried to run c:\con\con the system would get into a blue screen loop and could only be fixed with a restart

    • GhostMiner
      GhostMiner  13 dias atrás

      It worked other paths too btw

    • Stickflood
      Stickflood 26 dias atrás

      @crank1985 tell more 🙏

    • Mirk
      Mirk 29 dias atrás

      That is a fun fact! thanks for sharing

  • Will Beason
    Will Beason Anos atrás +26

    You actually can do this with Windows Subsystem for Linux. Using the Linux terminal, you can create files and directories named "con". Trying to access them results in an "invalid handle" error.

  • Liggliluff
    Liggliluff 5 meses atrás +8

    The Cofán language uses the language code "con", this means for programs that has each language saved by code only: en.str, es.str, de.str, you can't make a Cofán translation. But it is a language with about 2000 people, so you're likely not going to have such translation. Plus you can specify it as con-CO.str and con-EC.str as well, by adding the country code.

  • Epiko Xailia
    Epiko Xailia 4 meses atrás +10

    This was honestly an amazing way to talk about a story, the script or talking points or whatever it is was just so good in my opinion. I love how you wrapped everything up and got everything related to each other at the end, just amazing 🤩

  • Brenden Nichols
    Brenden Nichols 11 meses atrás +10

    I would have never even thought of trying this. What an intriguing video and it makes sense that our computers are designed so that we can still open files from 30 years ago, which does mean a few naming restrictions for the sake of ensuring backwards compatibility for nearly all old files.

  • Silver Howl
    Silver Howl 11 meses atrás +12

    Now this was some education on the backwards compatibility that I never even realized Microsoft had done! Cool stuff! :)

  • General Disarray
    General Disarray 8 meses atrás +3

    Yip, I remember we had an old system that was set up to use two dot matrix printers, one to spit out invoices and another for shipping labels on pre-printed, continuous paper. The issue was you had to remember to flip the switch on the rotary printer switch and if you didn't, well chaos would ensue. It had been that way for years.
    I came along and a little code change here along with the addition of a second printer port in the computer, and the printer switch and its mass of cables was history.

  • Your Friendly Canadian Populist Conservative

    I never knew about this limitation on file names in Windows. In some weird way, it kinda reminds me of Linux, where many devices and partitions are represented by directories (/dev/tty1, for example, could be an equivalent of CON)

  • Peter Cage
    Peter Cage 11 meses atrás +25

    When I was learning Unix I managed to delete the NULL file. Then wondered why the disk kept filling up, because it created an ordinary file which just accepted everything and over flowing. After few minutes panic I reinstlled the NULL file from the source code and fixed the problem!

  • Kon Chatzi
    Kon Chatzi 2 anos atrás +3287

    Yea, it really sucks when it’s your name. The account user name couldn’t be Con either. Until I started using it as Kon.

    • beinz heans
      beinz heans Mês atrás

      among us is extraordinary results and discussion 💀💀💀🤡🤡🤡🤓🤓🤓🇨🇳🇨🇳🇨🇳🇨🇳🇨🇳🥵🥵🥵🧢🧢🧢

    • treywar25
      treywar25 9 meses atrás

      What does your account username have to do with naming a saved file

    • Nuclear bomb
      Nuclear bomb Anos atrás

      @Kingvent portuguese turtle alabama castlevania 😍😍😂🙄🙄👽🥶🅱️😍😙😎😙😚🙂🤨🙂😋😗🙂

    • ArcanePanda
      ArcanePanda Anos atrás

      @Kingvent its been a year and this still hasnt been decyphered?

    • Joshua Melvin
      Joshua Melvin Anos atrás

      @Kingvent tell me what is you smoke right now

  • Microphone Junkie
    Microphone Junkie Anos atrás +184

    "Con" is a pejorative word to tell someone he's stupid in french, and Windows doesn't like meanies.

    • 『  Tiramisu Audio 』
      『 Tiramisu Audio 』 10 meses atrás

      @LH dumbass is still 'really stupid' but more violent. But yes, it is the c-word

    • LH
      LH 10 meses atrás

      @『 Tiramisu Audio 』 - Really? I genuinely thought it was the c-word?

    • 『  Tiramisu Audio 』
      『 Tiramisu Audio 』 10 meses atrás

      Euh, ça veut plutôt dire "dumbass" dans votre language.

    • xnst
      xnst 10 meses atrás +1

      @Clément Braconnier bruh finally a french

    • LH
      LH 11 meses atrás +2

      It's a lot stronger than 'stupid', it's the full c-word! 😂

  • Kan John
    Kan John 9 meses atrás +1

    Thoroughly enjoyed this. I have noticed many legacy control panels in Windows 10, but I didn’t know some went all the way back to 3.1!

  • Nyerguds
    Nyerguds 2 meses atrás +3

    Yes, I've had a really tough time copying old prerelease screenshots of the game "Command & Conquer" off an old CD because the creators of the disc had shortened them to "COM" plus a number, heh.

  • _resun
    _resun Anos atrás

    This video is amazing and taught a lot of things.
    Thank you very much Tom.

  • Wayne Das
    Wayne Das 2 anos atrás +9570

    When Tom said you could open a Word file from 30 years ago I thought to myself "Wait, they had Word in the '70s?" But no, 30 years ago it was the '90s.

    • Aviraj Singh Mehta
      Aviraj Singh Mehta 3 meses atrás

      @toyamwarr my computer had it my computer box was from that time it still had a floppy disk reader

    • Siri // GD Partitionhlep
      Siri // GD Partitionhlep 5 meses atrás

      @M B it is

    • Rosie
      Rosie 9 meses atrás

      ....you have no idea how OLD you just made me feel.

    • Thomas Hughes
      Thomas Hughes 9 meses atrás

      Oof 😥

    • Jazza BigHits
      Jazza BigHits 9 meses atrás

      @T. Castro Oh okay thank you. That being said, that version of Word wasn't for windows, that was 89

  • M V
    M V Anos atrás

    It is strange, that I never encountered this issue even through most of my life consists of dealing with PCs and software. I am actually kind of speechless.

  • Snow Berry
    Snow Berry 5 meses atrás +1

    One of the reasons I love Gnu/Linux. Userland never breaks. If your app uses the forward facing APIs, it will probably* never break.
    * not for a long time, if not never

  • Behemoth
    Behemoth 2 meses atrás

    I gotta say, that kind of backwards compatability is what makes much of my corporate work even feasible. Sometimes you need the one specific way of accessing a file that people stopped using a decade ago because its worse than the rest in 90% of cases but makes a workaround for the current situation possible.

  • dtikvxc dgjbv
    dtikvxc dgjbv Anos atrás

    Amazing stuff. I have learned so much in these 8 minutes.

  • Tomasz Zagadka
    Tomasz Zagadka 2 anos atrás +3213

    "New stuff should also support the old stuff"
    -Apple has left the chat

    • Dan Hammond
      Dan Hammond Mês atrás

      Apple can munch ball soup.

    • frank grimes
      frank grimes 9 meses atrás

      @HECKproductions Windows is EXACTLY the same, genius.

    • frank grimes
      frank grimes 9 meses atrás

      Not sure what you're on about, but new Windows computers certainly don't support older software. Stop pushing such ignorance.

    • T. Castro
      T. Castro 9 meses atrás

      Planned obsolescence sucks.

    • Tobias Wozniak
      Tobias Wozniak 9 meses atrás

      @Crayon Beam You're comparing Apples to oranges. Android is not based on Windows and the limited support of Android is not incapability but infeasibility. The margin on Android devices is much lower so the companies only support it for the time they have to supply warranty for it and rather have you buy a new device. The fact, that iOS devices have such a long support time is part of the ludicrous Apple tax you are shelling out for your device. For what it is, it is way overpriced. You pay for extended support, design and perceived value.
      You can have an up to date system on Android way beyond those two years (and even longer that iOS devices). It is called rooting an romming.
      I get where you're coming from, but you sound like any other sheep.

  • the Pastry Chef
    the Pastry Chef Anos atrás +6

    I've never used anything but widow's and can't imagine one of my old programs not working. I guess it's one of those things we take for granted

  • Mostly Magical
    Mostly Magical 2 meses atrás

    I like how Tom shows all the great examples of Microsoft backwards compatibility as I sit at my desk looking at a Zune, which has nearly no compatibility with newer versions of windows.

  • LucasIsHere
    LucasIsHere Anos atrás +249

    "Microsoft cares about backwards compatibility."
    Me, trying to play an obscure Xbox 360 on my Xbox One: *Well yes, but actually no.*

    • GreenBlox Gamer
      GreenBlox Gamer 2 meses atrás

      @poudink Nintendo has a lot of history with backwards compatibility, the game boys were all backwards compatible with each other same with the ds and 3ds, even for the GameCube to wii to wii u

    • Cody Johannsen
      Cody Johannsen 9 meses atrás

      @movie0007 I lot of that has to do with the video game companies antitheft system, not the OS.

    • Coingamer
      Coingamer 10 meses atrás

      @Yee Oof what are they gonna do, put a disc slot in the switch for wii u games like what

    • Nobody is Anybody
      Nobody is Anybody 10 meses atrás

      Ltt made a video on how to do it

    • SubZ3r0
      SubZ3r0 10 meses atrás

      Forza Motorsport 4 has never been made retro compatible, they made me keep my xbox360

  • TtRTech
    TtRTech 3 meses atrás

    Gotta love how years of Windows' bad design decisions really piled up.

  • JonatasAdoM
    JonatasAdoM 2 anos atrás +1903

    It's not the computing museum without that static noise your ears can't pick anymore.

    • vaultboy 124
      vaultboy 124 15 dias atrás

      ahh the cathode ray tube buzz i still hear it barely even if it is from a monitor from 1992.

    • Snowball
      Snowball 11 meses atrás +1

      That's one reason I hate hospitals

    • Christ vargas
      Christ vargas Anos atrás +1

      I love that white noise. I have a rack with a switch, router, UPS, and a 4U NAS my office next door to my bedroom; love the soft humming coming from there.

    • Mataco70
      Mataco70 2 anos atrás

      @Potato Face same

    • Obella
      Obella 2 anos atrás

      The noise Coming from the computers speakers be like: da DA DA da da DA DAAAAA DA DA da da DA DA DA DA DAAAA da DA DA D D A A A DA DA

  • Eugene Verster
    Eugene Verster Anos atrás

    very well presented video, also a different perspective, i come from Dos days but never actually knew these legacy items still existed

  • Jon Brændsgaard Toft
    Jon Brændsgaard Toft 10 meses atrás +6

    I discovered this 20 years ago when I was trying to create a folder called "Con" for my converted mp3 files. Didin't know why it didn't work until now! Thanks :)

    • T. Castro
      T. Castro 9 meses atrás

      I recommend the game Hypnospace Outlaw if you're feeling nostalgic about that time :)

  • sleepysoff
    sleepysoff 9 meses atrás +1

    I love how I’ve never asked this question my entire life but still watched it.

  • swaffdog
    swaffdog 9 meses atrás

    While watching this video, I WAS able to rename a text file to Con.txt on Windows 11. I was also able to rename a folder at the command prompt to Con using the ren (rename) command, but could not create a new folder named Con.

  • DoriNori
    DoriNori 2 anos atrás +6024

    Microsoft: “Wait! Don’t change that code! What if someone needs to open their 30 year old word excel sheets!” Meanwhile at Apple: “Lmao who even uses opengl anymore?”

    • Rollinontheboard
      Rollinontheboard 7 meses atrás

      @Konstantin Malaev Shut up!

    • Blair Lohnes
      Blair Lohnes 10 meses atrás

      @Konstantin Malaev Everything went over your head on this one eh? Metal maybe better for apples software, but it's an obscure API. OpenGL is legacy and has been around for decades, there is no reason to drop it. This is why Apple sucks, and you are just proving how big of a fan boy your are by throwing out strawman arguements. The only good thing apple has done in the last 10 years is release the M1 chips.

    • silicon hawk
      silicon hawk 11 meses atrás

      @Cosmic Jenny wait what. People dont use HDMI ?

    • Nuclear bomb
      Nuclear bomb Anos atrás

      @Cosmic Jenny "Who even uses wired earphones anymore?" -Apple

    • Akshay Anand
      Akshay Anand Anos atrás

      @Rick I'll take your faster and more stable OS claim and point you to literally every machine apple has made during the x86 era. I've worked on iMacs, Mac Minis and the trashcan Mac Pros. Using FCPX sometimes, Adobe sometimes. All the apple computers were the same speed and stability as my Windows laptop. Except the trashcan Mac which used to Kernel panic whenever you tried to do colour grading in FCPX. You only think a Mac is somehow more stable or secure or faster: it is not really. Not until the M1 chip.

  • Victis Omega
    Victis Omega 10 meses atrás +1

    Wow, I’ve never run into that before… It’s always funny to find little isms and quirks in an OS that are remnants of a long forgotten forefather.

  • Michael Kilgore
    Michael Kilgore Anos atrás

    Just found your channel. Love the way you present information

  • Aaaa h
    Aaaa h 9 meses atrás

    It's super cool that backwards compatibility is this important and that Windows has taken notice of it!

  • medass1n
    medass1n Anos atrás +1

    im just amazed by the fact that someone came up with the idea to make w computer and programmed a full software and made it working

  • spoilt milk
    spoilt milk 2 anos atrás +5315

    Tom Scott: Have you ever wondered about why [obscure fact I've never wondered about]?
    Me: Well, I sure do now

    • Jeanette
      Jeanette 2 anos atrás +2

      Yes! I didnt know I needed to know this but now I do need to know! 🤣

    • ViciousVinnyD
      ViciousVinnyD 2 anos atrás +1

      I remember having to use command line to rename .minecraft because for some dumb reason windows doesn't let you do it normally. There's always a way to break the rules.

    • TigerChills
      TigerChills 2 anos atrás +1

      Well, well, well, let's find out!

    • CZghost
      CZghost 2 anos atrás +5

      I was actually wondering before, because I somehow found out I cannot save certain filenames and folder names ("con" being one of them), I was actually trying to save those files as an abbreviation to something (I believe "con" was staying for "contact" or "connect" or something similar). It is possible to create those files (or folders) somewhere inside your file tree, but those objects cannot be accessed, nor can you save anything to these files, folders, you cannot remove them and cannot access them. That also means that access denied will deny also removal (it is possible to remove those bugged files and folders, but not with conventional methods). Reason is simple. System thinks you are trying to access a device port that no longer works (or method of access doesn't support that device or simply that device isn't installed), instead of accessing the newly created object. To remove that file or folder (or rename them or otherwise access them), you have to use another operating system (preferably Unix based). Windows/DOS based systems won't be able to interact with these files/folders. A bug in Windows (still present to this day) allows with a special way to create those sort of objects, with no seemable way to interact with them (not even for removal). Linux of course allows creation of those files (heck it allows for creating othwerise conflicting names because unlike Windows/DOS where all files and folders were originally only alphanumerical capital letters based names, the Linux file systems support case sensitive naming (so a file called "Larry" is different than file called "larry"). It is worth noting that it won't work on Windows based file systems (FAT32, NTFS). However, Linux won't check for the reserved file names so it will still allow you to create a file or folder named "con" and such.

    • dizney 3311
      dizney 3311 2 anos atrás +2

      I was like, whaaaaaat, let me try it

  • NexHoney
    NexHoney 9 meses atrás

    I wish I had a teacher as interesting as you in high school, I learned all this with more interest than anything I did in high school

  • kakyoin donut321
    kakyoin donut321 Anos atrás +13

    "if you change everything, people hate it, it breaks their workflow, and move on to something else"
    - Tom Scott to apple

  • Julian B
    Julian B 11 meses atrás +3

    Brought back a lot of memories this. Hours of trying to get those device drivers to work properly. :P

  • Ben Fourie
    Ben Fourie 10 meses atrás

    I still use the command copy con to create files.
    For the most part I've moved on to unix. However, a lot of my work required some M$ interaction.

  • Casimir
    Casimir 2 anos atrás +3087

    I'd totally buy Tom Scott Remastered 2020.

    • Yousef Slimani
      Yousef Slimani 4 meses atrás


    • The McGuinness Experiment
      The McGuinness Experiment 2 anos atrás +1

      Same. I'll pay full price!

    • Arbiter099
      Arbiter099 2 anos atrás +2

      The devs would never get two cymbals and a drum over a cliff in just the right way again, I would rather play the original

    • doph
      doph 2 anos atrás

      nah prefer the og

    • Domestic Cat
      Domestic Cat 2 anos atrás +3

      Mad Cap'n Tom 2.0

  • Jemand
    Jemand 9 meses atrás +1

    I wish apple fanboys would understand this and started to appreciate windows.
    I'm using both and find good things to say about both systems.

  • Barbier Thomas
    Barbier Thomas Anos atrás

    What happens if you create a file named "con", put that file in a storage device and transfer it into a Windows machine?

  • Jonathan Tsou
    Jonathan Tsou 2 meses atrás

    I'm glad Microsoft thinks about backwards compatibility. I'm just imagining a critical spreadsheet used for determining medical parameters for a patient or data for an experiment. Very thankful.
    Question though: what if we make a con, or con0, etc. File in mac, ios or android? (Gonna try now)

  • Paul Minshall
    Paul Minshall 9 meses atrás

    This feature caused me no end of headaches. I was writing files for part entities using a folder structure based on attributes, which was failing for the Condenser system (abbreviation: CON).

  • Burke McCabe
    Burke McCabe 2 anos atrás +1923

    if you name a Minecraft world "con" it will re-name it "_con_"

    • William Huang
      William Huang 4 meses atrás +1

      @patrioticwhitemail911 well that might happen if you called it lpt1
      but con is just console

    • _Russian__Youtube_
      _Russian__Youtube_ 9 meses atrás +1

      @Evan Greavu probably not

    • Shambhav
      Shambhav Anos atrás +1

      Does that also do it for non Windows machines?

    • Burke McCabe
      Burke McCabe 2 anos atrás +1

      @Red Dunkey what do you mean by that?

    • charmeleon evolves
      charmeleon evolves 2 anos atrás +2

      @Pangkan j03 m@w@

  • Verstraeten andré
    Verstraeten andré 4 meses atrás +1

    Also, in windows 98 and previous versions, the command c:/con/con sent you straight to a bluescreen! (not harmful, you may try)

  • William etc. Cook
    William etc. Cook Mês atrás

    Every once in a while I download a program which very obviously was made like 10 years ago, and I always find it weird that it still works on Windows 11

  • Bowmaker Fox
    Bowmaker Fox Anos atrás +105

    "no-one's expecting their iphone to be able to read punch cards"
    *My goals are beyond my understanding*

    • Bowmaker Fox
      Bowmaker Fox 11 meses atrás

      @SGTHarvey haha, well well well...

    • SGTHarvey
      SGTHarvey 11 meses atrás +2

      Didn't expect to see you here

  • Geroff Milan
    Geroff Milan 2 meses atrás

    Oh you definitely can create these file types - which is probably another "feature" of backwards compatibility for other components.
    I've used this fact on red team exercises several times.
    It's true Microsoft don't want us all to though, for good reasons, but reliably reducing the attack surface of Windows is a monolithic (likely impossible) task.

  • Chris
    Chris 2 anos atrás +5715

    "People don't like change"
    I swear if Tom ever wears a blue shirt, I'm not watching ever again

    • ultimatememer
      ultimatememer 9 meses atrás +1

      @Nathan Jay this aged well

    • Giselio
      Giselio 9 meses atrás

      @Nathan Jay say that again

    • Retrolynx
      Retrolynx 9 meses atrás +2

      @Nathan Jay too bad we wouldnt be able to tell now that dislikes are removed

    • Pineapple Wapple
      Pineapple Wapple Anos atrás

      That change isn't major enough for people to stop watching him

    • Haights
      Haights Anos atrás +2

      Tom wears a blue shirt, Matt wears a red shirt, Chris gets a twitter handle, MASS HYSTERIA

  • Edward Chester
    Edward Chester 6 meses atrás +1

    Tis the often unsaid reason why so many of us stick with Windows - not just cause it supports games and is familiar. In many ways there's something positive about the forced change of Apple and other products - being forced out of habits (good and bad) can be a positive - but on the other hand I definitely still run software that is at least twenty years old because there's simply nothing more or less that I need from it. If something just works, change is not a good thing as has been proven many times over for most things outside of the digital realm.

  • Cleo Cat
    Cleo Cat 5 meses atrás

    con.txt and con.jpg seems to work just fine, just not 'con' by itself. And yes, I have File Extensions being displayed. So maybe they "fixed" the .extension issue since this video, I'm running Windows 11. Doesn't seem like something they would fix, but it does work for me anyhow.

  • Misteribel
    Misteribel 13 dias atrás

    Fun fact: NTFS (filesystem on Windows) *does* support CON as a filename. You just need to trick it in creating it. After that, you won’t be able to delete it. It’s not the filesystem itself that prohibits this, but the OS.

  • Stoink87
    Stoink87 Anos atrás +1

    We use an ERP program at my job called "MAPICS" it is from 1981 and it entirely text based.

  • Yndostrui
    Yndostrui Anos atrás +2511

    You also can't name it "aux", which we found out the hard way, when I named a folder "aux", submitted it to our git repository and made all the windows people unable to update their local copies.

    • Isabelle V
      Isabelle V Anos atrás +1

      @michael scogginsIt’s not true even as hyperbole, though. Linux builds nowadays literally come prepackaged with programs and everything

    • michael scoggins
      michael scoggins Anos atrás

      @Isabelle V “so laughably wrong, it’s not even funny”
      Hard to imagine hyperbole getting by you.

    • Isabelle V
      Isabelle V Anos atrás +1

      @michael scoggins I literally use Windows, but even I know saying that Linux users have to build their own OS is so laughably wrong it’s not even funny

    • Discord Guy
      Discord Guy Anos atrás

      @Mr.Mischief Iknowyourpassword Terry Davis was right about something. God says: what bird argue like that when we were young people understand screen shots afford points

    • RanOutOfIdeasXD
      RanOutOfIdeasXD Anos atrás


  • eli-boy 747
    eli-boy 747 11 meses atrás +18

    "New should support old."
    Canon: *I'm gonna pretend i didn't see that.*

  • Sam
    Sam 10 meses atrás

    Wondering what happens if you force it at byte level.. Going to have to play with this now


    You used different language and avoided I/O, virtualisation which tends to confuse. Well done

  • Hernan Patricio Orellana Alarcon

    Great explanation! Thank you very much Tom! 😀👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

  • PMP
    PMP 2 anos atrás +3377

    Cons and pros of modern windows file convention.
    Pro: you can use punctuation.
    Con: you still can't use con.

    • Meeta Verma
      Meeta Verma 2 anos atrás

      that was nice

    • Romil Goel
      Romil Goel 2 anos atrás

      Pro: no con. 😶
      I wonder why people ain't thinking that way. 🤔

    • Haris Hussain
      Haris Hussain 2 anos atrás


    • nibblrrr
      nibblrrr 2 anos atrás +2

      ​@WALUIGI96 Jup, :"/\|?* are the reserved characters for Win32, plus a bunch more rules. On UNIX, it's just /. Neither allows the NUL character.
      Oh, also UNIX allows control characters like newline, because apparently we want to enable mischievous people to punish other people for running sloppy shell code. :^)

    • Erwan Amans
      Erwan Amans 2 anos atrás +1

      So many punctuation symbols are not supported on NTFS (Windows 10's filesystem). There are still tons of files I can't copy from my Linux machine onto NTFS drives unless I rename them. The maximum filename length is also a lot shorter than on Linux, and causes the same issues.

  • Max Xiong
    Max Xiong 4 meses atrás

    Did /dev/... come after directories or something?
    Actually, the most problematic thing about this is that you can actually create a file named con on Linux NTFS, which could not be copied or deleted from windows easily.

  • Matt Blank
    Matt Blank 9 meses atrás

    So why does Linux allow me to create a folder on the desktop called 'dev' or 'sys'? Your explanation makes sense on the surface, but I think Microsoft could work around this.

  • JUNUHUNU productions
    JUNUHUNU productions 9 meses atrás +1

    Such a fascinating video, thank you!!

  • Henry Ginn
    Henry Ginn Mês atrás

    This backwards compatibility may be good, but it always seems to be implemented badly. That's why windows is spaghetti code on top of spaghetti code, which results in things like half your USB port drivers uninstalling themselves.

  • Nonante Hivernote
    Nonante Hivernote Anos atrás +2741

    Fun fact: "Con" is the french word for "dumbass"
    I always thought it was for censoring those names that we couldn't name a file "con".

    • Hugo Fort
      Hugo Fort Mês atrás

      I'm French and i thought the same when i was a kid because it applies to "con" and "nul'. But other french slurs don't do that ;)

    • Foxes are not red
      Foxes are not red 2 meses atrás +1

      I don't think dumbass is very accurate it's a bit more mean

    • Gaming+Programming OOOOIH
      Gaming+Programming OOOOIH 2 meses atrás

      it was not, it was "console"

    • Julie E
      Julie E 4 meses atrás +3

      @pexobestia no it would just mean "moron air" which would have confused people a lot
      Stupid face/aspect would be "air de con"

    • Commandbaker333
      Commandbaker333 7 meses atrás +3

      Con also means "with" in Spanish, so like con leche means "with milk"

  • Mike Zimean
    Mike Zimean 9 meses atrás

    I don’t see any signs of you using a teleprompter of any kind, that’s an incredible level of presentation skills, hats off to you sir!

  • Gysmo The Diamond
    Gysmo The Diamond 9 meses atrás

    i remember this game i had, and still have, it was this jet game and i found it in a cd, so i put it into my computer to try it, and it installed perfectly fine. its when i got to the controls, which im fairly sure ill need some external hardware to do it

  • RVdoesYouTube
    RVdoesYouTube 11 meses atrás +1

    Wait, what happens if you download a file named con that was uploaded from an OS other than windows? I'm curious now

  • Liggliluff
    Liggliluff 5 meses atrás +1

    (6:00) If they changed that, it would only affect dates 01/01/1900-28/02/1900. It might be true that it might affect some critical spreadsheet, but that must be a very rare spreadsheet.

  • SysGhost
    SysGhost Anos atrás +4870

    The block is obviously there to stop con artists from saving their stuff on computers. ;-)

    • Pizza crumbles
      Pizza crumbles 9 meses atrás

      Its suppose to stop legel "art" thief I use art very loosely here or nft theif

    • Susan
      Susan 9 meses atrás

      @Stefan TRUE XDD

    • GammaRadiation
      GammaRadiation 9 meses atrás +1

      Con *s*

    • Al Gore
      Al Gore 9 meses atrás

      @manyc this is not really true. In the matheus evangelium jesus talks about a place of damnation where you will eventually go if you commited sins and denied god. So hell is mentioned but not precisely named in the bible

    • David Knowles
      David Knowles 10 meses atrás

      that should have been the opening line.

  • {Count Duckula}
    {Count Duckula} 9 meses atrás

    Thanks Tom; that was fascinating & enlightening.

  • HFDan
    HFDan Anos atrás

    You actually can make a folder named con if you use the mkdir command, but you will not be able to delete it if you put a file inside it.

  • Will Boulter
    Will Boulter Anos atrás

    It works fine with a terminal emulator like git bash but then breaks any subsequent Windows operation that uses the file, including deleting the file through File Explorer. This sounds like a great way to screw up someone's machine in a really confusing way

  • Hunter Allan
    Hunter Allan 11 meses atrás

    Windows is my favorite OS, here's another reason why. As someone who grew up with windows 7 it's nice to be able to still use the same software on my win10 pc.

    • tacos mexicanstyle
      tacos mexicanstyle 11 meses atrás

      Yes I have programs from 15 or so years ago that still work perfectly in Windows 10. I’m always finding stuff that I made in school on Windows 2000 and XP. Also, there a lot of random programs that I need from time to time, and the original developer stopped working on it years ago. It’s helpful that Windows has built in compatibility troubleshooting to make them work

  • turrón master
    turrón master Anos atrás +623

    have you ever wondered why you primary hard drive is C instead of A? the simple solution is backwards compatability. both A and B are reserved for floppy discs.
    dialup modems are still supported too. Microsoft just really dont like discarding old features. although, dialup compatability makes sense, there are still those in the world without broadband internet.

    • Foxes are not red
      Foxes are not red 28 dias atrás

      @Martyn It does but E is referencing the secondary hard drive i think it's an ssd

    • Martyn
      Martyn Mês atrás

      @Foxes are not red Does your PC have an SD/CompactFlash card reader in it? That would do it

    • Miska Metsänen
      Miska Metsänen Mês atrás

      I recently changed my CD-drive to A: . It always gives me a smile when opening Win-Explorer. I mean, it's still 5,25", right? :-D

    • MeowO_O
      MeowO_O Mês atrás

      @Doge_Ram Un-unfortunately in the world we live in today, if you are not rich, you shouldn't be living in rural areas. Therefore price is no problem for rural folks. 😼

    • Doge_Ram
      Doge_Ram Mês atrás +1

      @MeowO_O Unfortunately starlink doesn't quite meet the "cheap" requirement here.

  • Michael England
    Michael England 9 meses atrás

    Good job. I really enjoyed this presentation.

  • Katheryne Luna-Mera Bois

    The thing is there is always a way to create those files and folders with those names, but the thing is that Windows won’t let you open it or even delete it, so you’ll be ending up deleting it the same way you created those things

  • Mayank Vats
    Mayank Vats 9 meses atrás

    You could actually create a file named CON through Git Bash, I tried it on my machine, just typed 'touch CON.txt' and it created the file, it gets a bit weird, you cannot delete the file directly (It throws an error), only through 'rm' command in git bash was I able to delete it.

  • Discord Guy
    Discord Guy Anos atrás

    I named a text file соn and it worked. The trick being that I used Cyrillic.
    And Core 2 generation PCs have parallel ports sometimes.

  • Eben Olivier
    Eben Olivier 2 anos atrás +230

    My favorite story is that Microsoft specifically reintroduced a DOS bug in Windows 95 after having fixed it, just so that SimCity that relied on the bug would continue to work.

    • Hey Gek
      Hey Gek 2 meses atrás +6

      It was a bug in the game, no bugs were reintroduced. They just made sure the game could run even if it was bugged.
      "The original version of Sim City was written for windows 3.x and included a bug that read memory that had been freed to the system. It worked in windows 3.x, even though it shouldn't, because that particular range of memory wasn't being used for anything else until the program was terminated. In beta versions of windows 95 Sim City didn't work because the operating system allocated memory differently, and Sim City would crash as expected because of the bug in the program. Amazingly, in the final version of Win95 the original Sim City worked. Microsoft engineers had actually tested backwards compatibility with Sim city, located the bug, and worked around it in their sourcecode. Specifically, Windows actually checked whether SimCity was running and then allocated memory differently if it was."

    • Rollinontheboard
      Rollinontheboard 7 meses atrás +1

      @Anonymous Your google sux lul

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous 8 meses atrás +1

      @Samuel Voltz I googled it and nothing came up!

    • Tfin
      Tfin 2 anos atrás +2

      @Samuel Voltz Nah, if someone wants to TELL a story, they should.

    • Gunswinger
      Gunswinger 2 anos atrás +10

      @Kipruto Bett or you could just look it up lmao

  • EJ
    EJ 11 meses atrás

    Other reserved names for DOS devices include AUX, NUL, COM1-COM9, PRN, LPT1-LPT9

  • Royce The Fox
    Royce The Fox 10 meses atrás

    for anyone wondering, it's the same on Windows 11 Home 21H2

  • Diamondapple
    Diamondapple Anos atrás

    I think MS won't delete this in near future becuse there might be some unexpected troubles in OS, like bugs that will last for years waiting their time

  • boblikes
    boblikes Anos atrás

    But you can create files with forbidden names through cmd as long as you do so using the extended length path:
    echo "test" > "\\?\C:\con.txt"
    and delete them via:
    del "\\?\C:\con.txt"
    You can also create files with restricted names with various windows API calls.

  • yondie
    yondie 2 anos atrás +667

    I'm almost impressed that Tom didn't use the word "legacy" even once in this video.
    Also, as always, great work.

    • Julian Sammy
      Julian Sammy 2 anos atrás +5

      Chris Stoble That sounds like a "bug" in the ported version or mkdir. Nice find. What happens if you try to use the folder? Rename/move/copy might break?

    • Chris Stoble
      Chris Stoble 2 anos atrás +12

      Hes wrong. You actually CAN name a directory "CON". From command line type "mkdir \\?\C:\CON" . This will create at folder 📂 at the root of the C:\ drive called CON.

    • Gnuthad
      Gnuthad 2 anos atrás +5

      That's because Tom's not old enough. :-)

  • Wilbur Jaywright
    Wilbur Jaywright 11 meses atrás

    To disprove a proposition, one need simply list one counterexample: Windows XP.
    My local tax office had to change their server to the same model with Windows 10 because XP stopped receiving security updates, and the new setup literally melted down TWICE. The entire office ground to a halt without that server. The XP server hadn’t failed once in its life.

  • Flightcoach
    Flightcoach 9 meses atrás

    This is great! Your takes are so long btw, you're a great speaker. Though I presume you use autocue?

  • Carl Gustav
    Carl Gustav 10 meses atrás

    This windows 3.1 menu can still be found in the latest Windows 11. But now with rounded buttons. So there ist „some“ progress in the development of windows.

  • Thijke
    Thijke Anos atrás +1

    if u type "con" in cmd it says : ' ' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
    operable program or batch file.

  • Zatacke
    Zatacke 2 anos atrás +1612

    Ok.. I used the node.js fs-api and created a file "con.txt"
    now Windows does not let me delete it anymore...

    • Marcus Marcus
      Marcus Marcus 2 anos atrás

      @demoniack81 Nah Javascript feels good to code. Super easy, anything is allowed. Java is terrible. C# is good too.

    • Seth Adkins
      Seth Adkins 2 anos atrás

      @Ph Will it work with WSL?

    • David H
      David H 2 anos atrás

      @f1refly nodejs is amazing!

    • EnjoyCocaColaLight
      EnjoyCocaColaLight 2 anos atrás

      This is interesting.
      If you make a copy of it, like just a little shortcut file, can that also not be deleted?
      Could you weaponise this, and set up a script to create billions of shortcuts of an undeletable folder and in essence have someone's HDD fill up with.. shortcuts?
      Lmao, do it!

    • Alex - Unity
      Alex - Unity 2 anos atrás

      @TinkerTavern G