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Moving and Accessing SAS Files across Operating Environments

Accessing Files That Were Created with CEDA on Personal Computer FAT Drives

CEDA creates and recognizes only Version 8 files, which are designated with an eight-character filename extension. For example, a Version 8 filename extension for a data set on the UNIX, OpenVMS, OS/2, and Windows hosts is .sas7bdat.

Note:   Version 7 and Version 8 filename extensions are identical.  [cautionend]

However, the Version 8 default eight-character filename extension requirement conflicts with the three-character filename extension that is used on FAT- (File Allocation Table) style disk devices, which are used exclusively in OS/2 and Windows environments.

To solve the Version 8 long, filename-extension conflict with FAT device short filename requirements, set the SHORTFILEEXT option in the LIBNAME statement. Setting SHORTFILEEXT overrides the default LONGFILEEXT, allowing Version 8 to recognize valid three-character filename extension equivalents. An example of a short extension for a Version 8 data set is .sd7.

Consequently, in a Windows or an OS/2 environment, you cannot create, read from, or update a file that was created with CEDA on a FAT- (File Allocation Table) style disk device, which recognizes only files that have a three-character filename extension. For a comprehensive list of Version 8 filename extensions, see Using Filename Extensions to Determine Which SAS Engine and Host Were Used to Create a SAS File.

Here is an example of setting the SHORTFILEEXT option in the LIBNAME statement on an OS/2 or a Windows host:

libname grades 'c:\chemistry' shortfileext;

The SHORTFILEEXT option allows Version 8 to recognize short filename extensions, which enables you to create, read from, and update Version 8 files on a FAT device. For more information about the SHORTFILEEXT option, see SAS Companion for the OS/2 Environment or SAS Companion for the Microsoft Windows Environment, whichever is applicable.

Because it is unlikely that all users will be aware of file-naming restrictions imposed by some hardware, the need to set the SHORTFILEEXT option in the LIBNAME statement may not be apparent. To warn of this problem, you will receive this error message:

ERROR: File library.member.DATA has too long a 
member name for the FAT drive

The recovery action is to retry the LIBNAME statement and use the SHORTFILEEXT option.

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Copyright 1999 by SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA. All rights reserved.