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Spaces in folder names

saronno - January 28, 2011 - 6:39am
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After installing LibreOfficePortable in the very same location, "C:\Program Files (x86)\Portables", where OOoP320 is still installed and running (so there is no "long paths" problem) together with many other portable applications, I found out it refused to start because of the spaces in the path.

I momentarily bypassed the obstacle buy moving the LOPortable folder in C:\, but this is not a place where I like to put applications.

I hope some solution or a fix will soon be suggested or provided, because the "remedy" I found elsewhere in the forum (renaming "Program Files (86)" to "Program_Files_(86)") can not, obviously, be any useful in a system where many applications, both portable and non-portable, are already installed.

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As far as I know, nobody on these forums was suggesting you rename "Program Files (x86)" to "Program_Files_(x86)", but rather that you not keep your "Portable" Apps in a folder with spaces in it, e.g. moving your PortableApps from "C:\Program Files (x86)\Portables" instead to "C:\PortableApps" [or to a flash drive, (i.e. X:\PortableApps {X being the drive letter of your flash drive}) like they're designed to be used.]

I don't know how "back" I am, but for now: here I am.

No misunderstanding and no polemics either

There actually was a suggestion to separate words with underscore ("Long Paths and Odd Characters" thread), which in my case would result, precisely, in what I said.

I had no polemical intention at all, anyway.
I just was looking for some effective work-around or fix.

Never use Program Files

You should never put portable software in the Program Files directories; the data is stored there and so with the tightened security in Vista/7 it won't work unless you're running as admin and have turned off UAC.

I am a Christian and a developer and moderator here.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1


I'm using Windows XP x64, so I don't have any of those security issues (maybe it's not even a coincidence).
Anyway, as far as I know Portable Apps are designed to run from whatever directory they are placed in, without looking elsewhere to get any libraries or settings. That's their main goal and that's what they actually do; otherwise they wouldn't deserve to be called portable, would they?

My problem here does not depend on some... erratic habit of mine, but on a minor, tiny bug which at the moment prevents any user from putting LibreOfficePortable in any folder with a space in it's name.

I opened this thread just to report it and to look for some work-around or fix, with no arguing or judging intents at all.


I'd highly suggest changing directories. Some other apps like Sumatra PDF (last I checked, anyway) specifically look if they were somewhere within %PROGRAMFILES% and then operate in non-portable mode and use either the registry or APPDATA. Several apps are like that.

Portable apps are designed to not be installed to %PROGRAMFILES%. In an upcoming version, the app installers will be specifically warning against this.

The ideal location to install to is X:\PortableApps. Then all the apps work. The apps which have problems with spaces have no problems (LibreOffice is not the only one). The apps that have problems with paths being too long will have no problems (LibreOffice, OpenOffice.org). And the installers will automatically find your install when run directly.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

good news

Well, it's definitely good to know that future warnings will tell users not to install in "Program Files" and also in any folder with spaces in it's name, thus preventing them from possible headaches.

A similar warning should maybe have been given well before, together with the one regarding those applications which automatically choose, without telling the user, to operate in non-portable mode, accessing the registry and so on, depending on the particular folder they are located in.

Maybe those applications should warn about this matter.
I actually wonder if they fully deserve to be called "portable".

I do not need to wander around with USB keys or portable hard disks. However I quite like using portable apps for my everyday work, thus keeping the host system as slim as possible and also making it extremely easier and faster to move or copy my working environment from a computer to another. Therefore I do not see anything weird in putting portable apps in the main hard disk and in the "Program Files" folder, together with the "installed" ones.

Anyway, I thought that portable apps could be safely run from anywhere (I still think they should, to be honest).
Being this apparently untrue, I think clear warnings should be given, starting from the "portable apps guidelines" section of the "what is a portable app?" page of the site, where at the moment there is not a single line about not-to-be-done things.


I see your point, saronno. The 'what is a portable app?' page lists features, not every possible scenario or what to do/not do. It doesn't even list installing it on a local hard drive as a feature as that wasn't originally intended. People have used the apps in additional ways, though, like local installs and cloud drives, so we've been catching up and improving to support that.

The Program Files directory is a special directory reserved only for local software by Windows. And, honestly, we never anticipated people putting portable software in it. In Vista and Windows 7, portable software in any format will not run as apps are restricted from altering anything within Program Files without a UAC security prompt. Add to that the way some apps assume they are running locally in Program Files, and it gets messy. You're right, though, we need to do a better job of warning the user. And the new installer updates will handle that.

If you're running locally, we recommend using PortableApps as the main directory in the root of the drive. Then installers can always find it for upgrades and the like. If we can assist you with moving to that setup, we'll be happy to offer any advice or tips.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

I thank you

sincerely for your kind replies and I well understand your point, too.
You obviously can not publish (or even imagine) all possible advices for all possible scenarios...

However, the "no spaced folder names" issue seems to be a general one, which can affect any installations on any portable devices; spaces in folder names are now very common and any non-novice user could very likely choose a customized folder where to install his portable apps, also together with native portable applications downloaded elsewhere.

Maybe it would deserve a notice.

Better Installers

I think it's best done with better instalers. The platform installer (which many of our techie users use and most of our non-techie users use) will better direct users to our 'recommended' paths on first install. This should helop setting up a good base. If they ignore it, they'll get a single warning about how spaces could mess things up and no more.

As for advanced users, we'll have the apps themselves detect and warn during indstall on spaces and long paths for the apps that need them. I'll add in the ability for the installer to locate those settings in the launcher.ini directly as it is compiled.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!