My job involves receiving and processing a lot of CDs containing photos and scanned documents from clients who are not very good with computers. I sometimes receive discs full of files with pathnames that read like this:
/photos of my house after all the mold got started/photos of the living room and dining room and bathroom/photos of the bathroom only not the living room and dining room/photos of the bathroom towels/photos of the pink bathroom towels only/photos of the pink bathroom towels with spots/as you can see this towel is just totally covered with green mold it looks like a forest on there i swear to god (3).jpg
I have to copy the contents of each disc to a fileserver. Windows Explorer on Windows 7 (which is what the fileserver and all the office computers use) does not allow you to copy-and-paste files or directories with a pathname of over 259 characters. I can brute-force the transfer using Robocopy, but I can't ask my co-workers to do the same thing when they need to copy or move one of the files or directories in question.
The information in the file and directory names is important, so I also can't just use a shell script or something to truncate each one to 8 characters. And I can't just keep going through each disc and manually renaming everything, copying all the descriptions to a text file as I go; I have only a limited number of hours on this earth, and I have already wasted too many of them doing this.
As I have yet to come across any way to make Windows Explorer put on its big kid pants, my ideal solution for this would be some sort of software that can flatten the contents of the disc out, shorten the filenames, and produce a single index file of some kind containing all the old pathname information. If the index were in HTML format with links to the individual files, my life would be complete.
Failing that, I'm open to any other suggestion that will keep me from having to do this by hand.
The following are not viable solutions: I can't give each client a course on the Windows filesystem and tell them to clean up their discs, I can't "fire" the clients, I can't throw out their discs and pretend I didn't get them, I can't train all my co-workers in how to use Robocopy, and I can't switch the whole office over to Ubuntu.