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Error: AML ERROR -Argument >>and<< invalid, function EXISTS\\ line

Error Message

Attempting to start Arc, ArcEdit or ArcPlot produces the error message:

Error:
AML ERROR   - Argument  >> and <<  invalid, function EXISTS\\              line
34 of file c:\arcexe8x\startup\arc.aml
Usage: [EXISTS <object>
               {-FILE | -ADDRESS | -ANNOTATIONS{.subclass} | -ARC |
                -ASCONNECT | -ASDATABASE |
                -ASDBMSTABLE <database> <connection> |
                -ASHISTORY {datetime} {<database> <connection>} |
                -ASHistoricalVIEW {-DBMSTABLE | -INFOTABLE | -LAYER} |
                -ASINFOTABLE | -ASLAYER | -ASLIBRARY |
                -CLEAN | -COVER | -DEFLAYER | -DIRECTORY | -GRID |
                -IMAGE | -INFO | -LAYER | -LIBRARY | -LINE | -LINK |
                -NETWORK | -NODE | -POINT | -POLYGON |
                -REGION{.subclass} | -ROUTE{.subclass} | -SECTION{.subclass} |
                -STACK | -TAT{.subclass} | -TIC | -TIN | -VAT | -WORKSPACE}]
AML ERROR   - Unable to run file C:\Documentsline 35 of file c:\arcexe8x\startup\arc.aml

Cause

Machines running Windows Terminal Server, Windows 2000, or Windows XP have a variable called %HOMEPATH% that by default is set to '\Documents and Settings\<username>.'

When starting a module in ArcInfo, the AML interpreter looks for a startup aml file such as the .arc file under %HOMEDRIVE%%HOMEPATH%. The error occurs because ArcInfo cannot use paths that contain spaces. The error does not cause loss of functionality.

Solution or Workaround

There are two possible solutions to this problem.

  • Set the following variables as both System and User Variables:
HOMEDRIVE    C:
HOMEPATH     C:\<create> 

Where you set these variables depends on your operating system. For help with setting a system environment variable, see: How To: Edit an environment variable.
 
Note:
Since other applications may need to use the '\Documents and Settings\<username>' directory, you may want to determine the '8dot3 compliant' name for this directory with the DOS command DIR /X. You can then set the %HOMEPATH% variable to this location.
  • Use Windows Notepad to edit the AML file listed in the second line of the error. In the example above it is c:\arcexe8x\startup\arc.aml.
    1. Find and fix the offending line. In the above example it is line 34:
       
      Code:
      &if [exists %hidden% -file] &then

      Insert the QUOTE function:
       
      Code:
      &if [exists [quote %hidden%] -file] &then


      The quotes around the file name will allow the operating system to correctly interpret the name.
       
    2. Save the AML and run Arc.
Note:
You will need to apply this fix to any other AML files causing the error.

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