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In the context of filesystems, 8.3 refers to the DOS days, particularly the FAT filesystem (used on floppies and hard drives), having a table of files that reserved 8 characters for the the filename and 3 in the extension.

Many other filesystems, and most filesystems since then, do not make the filename/extension split part of the filesystem, so do not have separate limits (most filesystems still have a 255-character overall limit for each filename/directory name)

Microsoft later added long filenames (LFN), which associated longer filenames with existing 8.3 entries.

The way they do this is basically a hack onto the same FAT table, one that older tools should ignore, while most newer tools would only show the longer filename.

If you see filenames like FILENA~1.TXT you know the longer filenames got lost.

See also Computer_data_storage_-_Partitioning_and_filesystems#Filename_limitations_.28characters.2C_length.29