I want to move thousands of folders and files from an old to a new storage system with Windows 2008 R2. Obviously a user with MAC OS has named hundreds of folders with characters - * and : - that Windows cannot read or rename, because it notices folders and files with illegal characters as invalid. In MAC OS these folders and files are valid.

So how can I batch rename these folders, in order to copy all the data to my new storage system within my Windows Server 2008 R2? Maybe with a renaming tool in MAC OS? Maybe with a renaming tool in Windows, that can read folders with illegal characters? Which one of them can search for such strange illegal characters, because searching with * finds all of the files and folders and : can also cause problems when searching.

I appreciate any help!

  • I am reasonaly sure that OXS ships with find. As for the asterix, escape it to feed to to find. If you do not the shell will expand it.
    – Hennes
    Jun 5, 2015 at 8:24
  • I guess it's impossible in Windows.  In OS X, find -name "*\**" should find all files whose names contain *, and find -name "*[*:]*" should find all files whose names contain * or :
    – Scott
    Jun 5, 2015 at 8:30
  • Thanks Scott, this works fine, but how can I rename all folders containing - * and : - ?
    – PhilG
    Jun 5, 2015 at 9:11

1 Answer 1


Prefacing file with \\?\ turns off filename checking.

copy \\?\c:\windows\win.ini \\?\c:\

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