My program will take arbitrary strings from the internet and use them for file names. Is there a simple way to remove the bad characters from these strings or do I need to write a custom function for this?
Ugh, I hate it when people try to guess at which characters are valid. Besides being completely non-portable (always thinking about Mono), both of the earlier comments missed more 25 invalid characters.
'Clean just a filename Dim filename As String = "salmnas dlajhdla kjha;dmas'lkasn" For Each c In IO.Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars filename = filename.Replace(c, "") Next 'See also IO.Path.GetInvalidPathChars
First, there are many names like PRN and CON that are reserved and not allowed for filenames. There are other names not allowed only at the root folder. Names that end in a period are also not allowed.
Second, there are a variety of length limitations. Read the full list for NTFS here.
Third, you can attach to filesystems that have other limitations. For example, ISO 9660 filenames cannot start with "-" but can contain it.
Fourth, what do you do if two processes "arbitrarily" pick the same name?
In general, using externally-generated names for file names is a bad idea. I suggest generating your own private file names and storing human-readable names internally.