Cannot handle filenames with quotes or question marks?


I've recently (since the 7.1 update?) noticed "file cannot be found" errors attempting to play some tracks. The tracks are indexed fine, the files exist on the NAS and are readable.

The common factor is that they have question marks or quotes in the filenames, so I'm guessing it's a filename handling / globbing / quoting bug. Has anyone else noticed this?


3/14/17, 9:03 AM
Unable to play '02 What Have I Done?.flac' - the file //nas.example.com/music/Compilations/Les Misérables (Disc 1)/02 What Have I Done?.flac cannot be found.

3/14/17, 9:16 AM
Unable to play '06 Who Am I?.flac' - the file //nas.example.com/music/Compilations/Les Misérables (Disc 1)/06 Who Am I?.flac cannot be found.

3/14/17, 9:45 AM
Unable to play '16 Do You Hear The People Sing?.flac' - the file //nas.example.com/music/Compilations/Les Misérables (Disc 1)/16 Do You Hear The People Sing?.flac cannot be found.

3/14/17, 10:27 AM
Unable to play '01 No More "I love You's".flac' - the file //nas.example.com/music/Annie Lennox/Medusa/01 No More "I love You's".flac cannot be found.

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15 replies

Hi IIuad

Welcome to the Community!

Sorry for the late reply!

Could you submit a Diagnostic shortly after the "file cannont be found" error and reply with the number

Many thanks
I have the same problem. Although the album indexed OK, I get the error message:

Unable to play 'track02.mp3' - the
file //topaz.local/audio/MP3/Rudolf
Serkin/Beethoven Piano Concerto No.
5 "Emperor"/track02.mp3 cannot be
found.

The reply I got from Sonos, after submitting the requested diagnostics, was that there had been no changes in filename handling and that they'd continue to investigate the issue, followed by the ticket being closed with no update 48 hours later.
I sometimes get a slightly different message. Note that

1. the share really does exist, and the Sonos app has no trouble finding other albums
2. it's giving me an error message for the second track, but is trying unsuccessfully to play the first track.

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Question marks and quotation marks are traditionally special characters that should not be used in filenames. The fact that a NAS is able to support them doesn't mean that everything else will. I know that Windows won't permit filenames with either of those symbols.

In fact, Windows doesn't permit any of these special characters in filenames: \ / ? " : * < > |

So while your computer and your NAS might support them, it would probably be best to avoid using them when possible. Some music management tools will change those special characters to a dash ( - ) or underscore ( _ ) when creating music files that have them in any of the fields used to create the filename.
How did Windows enter the discussion? I am running my Sonos controller app on an iPad, which doesn't run Windows. My "NAS" doesn't run Windows. I upload the files from a computer that doesn't run Windows. Do the Sonos devices run Windows under the hood? Does the development team debug using a simulator that runs under Windows? I just think that it's inconsistent to allow the indexing of files that contain special characters in their names (the files had to be read to get the tags, including the artwork...) and not be able to read the files when it comes time to play them.

I understand that these characters are traditionally special, but I think it's a dumb tradition. I can make NTFS filenames with 100,000 different Unicode characters, including punctuation from other languages, but not English. What if the title of a song includes a question mark? Should I not be able to use a song title as a directory or file name?


The ID3 tagger that I use is my own, which I designed especially for the Sonos. I did provide a translation routine for special characters, but I neglected to include double quote, so thanks for that reminder. I might even translate it to a "ditto" character.
Actually, I just discovered the alternate encodings of the standard ASCII characters at U+FF01 and following. I'll try converting special characters to these, to see if they solve my problem.
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How did Windows enter the discussion? I am running my Sonos controller app on an iPad, which doesn't run Windows. My "NAS" doesn't run Windows. I upload the files from a computer that doesn't run Windows. Do the Sonos devices run Windows under the hood? Does the development team debug using a simulator that runs under Windows? I just think that it's inconsistent to allow the indexing of files that contain special characters in their names (the files had to be read to get the tags, including the artwork...) and not be able to read the files when it comes time to play them.

I understand that these characters are traditionally special, but I think it's a dumb tradition.

First a bit of advice, you're sounding really hostile toward MikeV. I don't know if it's intentional or not. This guy is offering free advice to try and help your problem, and you seem to be jumping down his throat because he mentioned Windows. It's worth noting, that if you read his post carefully, he doesn't ever explicitly state Windows and special characters is your problem. He's using it as an example of how a single software layer can disrupt the stack regardless of the rest.

Hopefully changing the special characters will help.
Oops. Sorry. Believe me, there is no hostility at all. Perhaps I was reacting to the "special characters should not be used". He is absolutely right, that that is a way to get around certain software issues. I am just a little mystified that it is an issue in this case.
And in addition, I appreciate you guys responding to my posts, and I am thrilled with my Sonos system!
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I have no idea where these glitches come from on file names but it is frustrating, took me a lot of hours to get every little glitch ironed out of the files I'm using in my music library. On my new Honda I'm seeing that it is even pickier, no super-scripts, hates umlauts, barfs at two periods and probably more.

So I'll add to the "I wish this was fixed" bunch and also wish we could agree on a file system not as limited as FAT that was free to use and not patent encumbered.
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My Windows note was simply an example of special characters that an operating system doesn't permit the use of. I was pretty sure you were running something else on your NAS and computer since you were able to get special characters in the filenames in the first place.

I do find it very unusual that Sonos was able to index the files (which is why they show up in the library!) but isn't able to play them. Maybe the diagnostic you sent will shed some light on Sonos' end and they can get it fixed in a future update.
Thanks, Mike. I was going to send a diagnostic, but the app said that I should only do that if requested by Sonos, and they haven't done so. It looks like the only thing that the Sonos poster did in this thread was to verify that there had been no filename handling changes, so that the original poster's suggestion of a new problem was incorrect.
I do find it very unusual that Sonos was able to index the files (which is why they show up in the library!) but isn't able to play them.

I suspect that's because the Sonos controller app handles filenames correctly, while the embedded software in the speaker itself doesn't. It may be no more than a five line fix once someone with access to the embedded source looks at it.
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Send the diagnostic anyway (after one of your devices encounters the error) and post the confirmation number here in the topic. Being proactive and doing it in advance of a Sonos employee requesting it never hurt anybody. 🙂 If anything, it gives them valuable info right out of the gate, which can only help speed a solution to the issue.

The indexing is actually done by one of the Sonos devices in your system (don't ask me how it's decided which device does the indexing), not the controller app, which just makes it weirder.