Working with Japanese filenames in PHP 5.3 and Windows Vista?

I’m currently trying to write a simple script that looks in a folder, and returns a list of all the file names in an RSS feed. However I’ve hit a major wall… Whenever I try to read filenames with Japanese characters in them, it shows them as ?’s. I’ve tried the solutions mentioned here: php readdir problem with japanese language file name – however they do not work for some reason, even with:

header('Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8');
setlocale(LC_ALL, 'en_US.UTF8');

At the top (Exporting as plain text until I can sort this out).

What can I do? I need this to work and I don’t have much time.

Here is Solutions:

We have many solutions to this problem, But we recommend you to use the first solution because it is tested & true solution that will 100% work for you.

Solution 1

function fx_dir_utf8 ($path)
    // use this as failback on windows for usual dir listing
    // give it a UTF-8 path and receive a UTF-8 listing
    $path       = iconv ('UTF-8', 'UTF-16LE', $path);
    $cmd        = 'cmd /U /C dir '. str_replace ('/', '\\', $path);
    // windows command line returns CP850 or UTF-16LE
    $dir_str    = shell_exec ($cmd);
    $dir_str    = iconv ('UTF-16LE', 'UTF-8', $dir_str);
print_r ($dir_str);

    // further parse $dir_str
    return ($dir_str);

Solution 2

This is not possible. It is a limitation of PHP itself. PHP does not use the wide WIN32 API calls, so you’re limited by the codepage. UTF-8 (65001) is not valid for this purpose.

If you set a breakpoint at readdir_r() in win32\readdir.c, you’ll see that FindNextFile already returns a filename with question marks in place of the characters you want, so there’s nothing you can do about it, apart from patching PHP itself.

Solution 3

This displays Japanese filenames correctly on a Windows server

if ($handle = opendir($this->dir)) {
    while (false !== ($file = readdir($handle))){
        $name = mb_convert_encoding($file, "UTF-8", "SJIS-win" );
        echo "$name<br>";

Solution 4

Yeah, no, as others stated it, PHP CAN’T do it… Shame on you PHP!

As others also suggested, one alternative could be to write a proxy in another language that can read those file names:

Some suggested C, but personally I found Python much more simpler/attractive (here Python3).


$success = (bool)(int)shell_exec('python -c "import os;'.
    'os.chdir(\''.$dir.'\'); '.
    'import urllib.parse; '.
    'file_list = tuple(map(urllib.parse.quote_plus, os.listdir())); '.
    'print(int(\''.urlencode($_GET['src']).'\' in file_list and \''.urlencode($_GET['src'].'.part').'\' not in file_list))"'

Yup, not pretty, but this snippet allowed me to check against file names by urlencode‘ing them.

(Ndla: That particular snippet was used to find out when a file was done downloading with Firefox without having to mess with the API. Not the best but WORKING and fast to setup)

Solution 5

You can do it in PHP. Write a small C program to read directories and call that program from PHP.

See also:,_Windows)

Note: Use and implement solution 1 because this method fully tested our system.
Thank you 🙂

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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