# File name too long cannot copy

### Question

• I'm running the 7100 build...enjoying it except for one big thing:

While attempting to copy 402gb from my main storage volume onto a spare 500gb drive (for the purpose of changing to a new RAID array) I've come across something that I would expect a Windows 98 OS to give me.

It tells me that a file has TOO LONG of a file name, then provides with two unhelpful options: SKIP or CANCEL

I never had XP give me an issue like this at all, so what gives? And while some specific files did have long file names (such as for songs, etc.) it had 7 issues with folders stating that their name was too long, but in fact they were not since they were titled '07-06-07' for the date that I dumped the audio files in them. However, they may have contained FILES with long file names though.

Anyone else get this same situation? Perhaps the RTM version does not do this? Can anyone verify this regarding their install of the RC or the RTM?

It made it through 400gb out of the 402gb transfer.

I'm just happy to see that it doesn't spazz out about an issue like this until it has done all the other transfers that it can do because it saves the issues it has with files until the very end. In XP it would spazz about it the moment it came across it causing the transfer process to halt.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009 7:58 PM

• Windows 2000 has a 254 character limit.
Windows XP has a 255 character limit.
Windows Vista has a 260 character limit.

Each application/API handles long filenames differently, so BEWARE:
Nero 6 could only handle 108 characters, but it didn't tell you that. Instead, it burned the disc and truncated the filename resulting in garbage.
QuickTime 2006 could only handle 63 characters. Oops to all those podcasts titles.
Even Mac systems advertised 255 characters, but the shell could only handle 31 characters until OS X.

While there are a few workarounds, they are limited in how they can be used and becomes somewhat inconvenient if you are handling lots of files:
From the command prompt only.
May overwrite other data in the filename record resulting in loss of information: (ie. attributes, creation date, starting location for file, etc.)

"What should I do?"

Thursday, September 03, 2009 4:28 PM
• Path limit is 248 characters.
Path+Filename limit is 260 characters.

Exceeding either will result in the error mentioned.
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 3:02 PM

### All replies

• BUMP.....

Could anyone please attempt to verify this?  Wouldn't you like to know if this might be a problem for you down the road?  AHEM!!

~Scott
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 2:05 PM
• Please review the responses and answers in this previous thread: Error: "Windows cannot copy file. The filename or extension is too long."
Carey Frisch
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 2:56 PM
• Path limit is 248 characters.
Path+Filename limit is 260 characters.

Exceeding either will result in the error mentioned.
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 3:02 PM
• Path limit is 248 characters.
Path+Filename limit is 260 characters.

Exceeding either will result in the error mentioned.

What were the limitations for those under Windows XP?  I never had this issue under XP.

~Scott
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 10:07 PM

• The Windows API has many functions that also have Unicode versions to permit an extended-length path for a maximum total path length of 32,767 characters.

Well, that's in theory but I can't make it work...
For example I have a file G:\[251 characters file name].txt and I want to move it in G:\Documents. However when I try to drag it to the destination (in Windows Explorer) I get a message like: file name or path is too long.
What should I do?
Thursday, September 03, 2009 9:37 AM
• Windows 2000 has a 254 character limit.
Windows XP has a 255 character limit.
Windows Vista has a 260 character limit.

Each application/API handles long filenames differently, so BEWARE:
Nero 6 could only handle 108 characters, but it didn't tell you that. Instead, it burned the disc and truncated the filename resulting in garbage.
QuickTime 2006 could only handle 63 characters. Oops to all those podcasts titles.
Even Mac systems advertised 255 characters, but the shell could only handle 31 characters until OS X.

While there are a few workarounds, they are limited in how they can be used and becomes somewhat inconvenient if you are handling lots of files:
From the command prompt only.
May overwrite other data in the filename record resulting in loss of information: (ie. attributes, creation date, starting location for file, etc.)

"What should I do?"

Thursday, September 03, 2009 4:28 PM

• How will that help somebody who already has a 251.3 filename in some folder?

ROTFLMAO
It won't.

But renaming through a command box (cmd.exe) when run as administrator usually works quite nicely.

Regards

Rem
Thursday, September 03, 2009 4:57 PM
• (Network)Share the directory where the file is in, and use the url syntax to get there (\\YourPath\YourVeryLongFileName.ext)
Handles long names a tad better.
Thursday, September 03, 2009 5:12 PM
• How, if they already exist?

See (open your eyes) my last post.  lol
Thursday, September 03, 2009 7:13 PM

• I saw your last post.  It is not the one above.    ;)

Thursday, September 03, 2009 7:18 PM

• How, if they already exist?

I agree!

In addition I think all the answers here are missing the point!
The point is that windows have a feature to support 32000+ characters as derosnec said. So, how can I use that feature?
I simply want to drag an existing file with a long file name to another location.
I don't want to simplify it. I don't want to rename it. Furthermore, I don't care about Nero, QuickTime and Mac users! I'm working in a windows 7 environment and every time I want to manage my files I use Windows Explorer to simply rename, copy or move them elsewhere.
Thursday, September 03, 2009 7:31 PM
• I'm sorry I'm not being clear enough.

1. You cannot drag and drop an illegal length filename within Explorer. It's a limit.
2. Use the program that allowed you to create the illegal filename in the first place to change the filename, or move it.
3. Read the instructions provided in the links above on how to use the extended command.
It can only be used from a command prompt at administrator level and is limited in it's recognition of long filenames when used other than designed making it very unlikely to be helpful in your situation.

Maybe you didn't read the instructions, or didn't understand them, let me help:
"Note that these examples are intended for use with the Win32 API functions and do not all necessarily work with Windows shell applications such as Windows Explorer."

"Many but not all file APIs support "\\?\"; you should look at the reference topic for each API to be sure."

"The shell and the file system have different requirements. It is possible to create a path with the Windows API that the shell user interface might not be able to handle."

This means that your long filename can only be handled at the command prompt level which means again, you cannot drag and drop an illegal filename.

4. Filenames longer than the limit may result in loss of information.
5. Oh... and at the end of that link's instructions, it states that Windows 7 still uses the alias 8.3 format for long filenames. That means that you should be able to manipulate the file (from a command prompt) using the xxxxxx~1.ext format of the filename. But if the filename is already too long, this will not work either.

I only see two options: #2 & #4.

• Edited by Friday, September 04, 2009 2:48 PM
Friday, September 04, 2009 12:23 PM
• There is not rude intention at all; neither by you nor by me. We just discuss a problem, looking for an answer...
My curiosity was (and still is), what's the meaning of 32000 characters feature, if I can't use it as a simple windows user? Could you please  tell me an example, where that feature is meaningfull for me?
On the other hand, I've tried robocopy, but I can't get a "decent" result: I can copy the long-file-name file to any folder/subfolder depth, but I can't access it there. I can't open it, rename it or anything else. So, back to my first "objection": Why should I be involved in a procces that doesn't solve my problem?
Friday, September 04, 2009 2:14 PM

• I agree, ROBOCOPY isn't something to use everyday.  I mentioned it to help the OP transfer the 2 GB that were inaccessible.

Friday, September 04, 2009 2:21 PM
• Back to point 2.

Some programs handle long filenames differently. Typically in the shorter limit direction, not longer, since they use Windows APIs to conduct their business. But, it has been recorded that IE will occassionally create a filename that exceeds MAX_PATH in the Temporary folder making it undeletable from Explorer. (See Carey's reference.)

The example you give above where a 256 character filename is moved deeper into the folder structure is not possible with Explorer. The limit would kick in and an error message or worse the filename would be truncated (loss of information) if it permitted the move. (I could not make it happen.)

If the name could be created in a deeper folder structure, then the application (not Explorer) that created it would have to be used to open it and save it somewhere else. (A slower "move.") But, just because it created it, does not mean it can handle opening the file. It all depends on if the applications programmer wrote both processes unique to the application or if they called out the standard API to read the file.

By "illegal", I simply mean that it will not work using the normal means since limits are imposed.
Friday, September 04, 2009 2:50 PM
• But, you can manipulate it by going to C:\JNC because you could not violate the limits when you created it.
Friday, September 04, 2009 4:50 PM

• Exactly.  We know JNC exists.

What if we didn't?  Or, what if  JNC  was later removed?  Or, what if we get into this same situation via Libraries?   Unless we realize what has happened, we just have an inaccessible file with no apparent way to manage it.  And it didn't happen through any extraordinary means.  Just NotePad.

Friday, September 04, 2009 5:02 PM
• The problem appears related to the alias creating a path to the file using it's actual location as part of the pathname to be replaced with the referenced pathname. Use of the actual location results in too long a filename and an error.

If you use a shortcut, instead of an alias, it functions as expected. (ie. From explorer, you can drag a long filename from C:\JNC to a shortcut on the desktop that leads to D:\QBT without error.) It is the use of the alias pathname through it's "interpreter" that is causing the problem.
Friday, September 04, 2009 6:12 PM
• Well,
here is another example where the path is more than 260 characters and still the file is accessible!.

Firstly, the idea:

I was wondering how many folders in depth (each one inside the other) Windows Explorer can hold. So, I’ve created some of them (32 in fact - 33 the root included) and inside the last one I’ve created a text file 1234567890123.txt. Then, I’ve started renaming some of the subfolders just adding some more characters in their names, to see what will be happen.

Now the results:

I finally ended up with a path of 276 characters, and still the file in the last subfolder was accessible and healthy, partially though, according some test I’ve made. For example:

1. I can open it in Notepad, edit and save. The same in Word and UltraEdit.

2. I can rename, copy and move it, as long as the new path doesn’t exceed the 260char limitation.

3. I can add it to an archive using WinRAR or 7zip, although I can’t extract it back to its original location (here APIs are involved)

For the History, the exact path is (I wrap the text for readability):

G:\98264hjngmndvbtuiygo\oiruwhg\auhfguitvgniugysliesd\iuatjhsbgvldsjyurugdfbnlsiughyjb\
p98utyndb\siuhg\uofyg\iushg\resd\g\apiughnv;shign\osfyukjutyetsb\wiuyqiortoiut\uy\tru\dyuj\
dyyj\yt\tyi\cgj\op\yuio\uio\wer\yti\ch\jkl\uyt\fhkj\iop\fshgyftrbrvdf\xcvbertyui\1234567890123.txt

(G is an external disk with NTFS file system)

Friday, September 04, 2009 6:16 PM
• I got the errormessage on a file where path+filename was 179 characters long!! After a bit experimenting i found out the reason:
I was copying from one folder to another where the files already existed, but with an older version. Because of the file was readonly the error occured. If I removed the read only flag the copy worked.
Anyone has an explanation for that? (I first got the message that the file was readonly "do you want to overwrite?")
Friday, October 23, 2009 9:57 AM
• It's pretty simple, really.

Just copy or move them to your root (c:) which shortens them quite a it, then move them to another  location, using the shortest path you have. Keep moving or copying them like this 'till they find their way to their final resting spot. LOL

Good luck.

Saturday, October 31, 2009 8:38 PM
• This I think sounds relevant.  Note that the application (Eclipse installer) already created the long file names, yet a Windows 7 system utility Save/Restore failed to handle it correctly in my opinion.  And it failed when it was needed the most, to restore 'missing' folders.

I just tried to use a shortcut I created and the target is missing.  Turns out many folders in my c:\java folder were missing (how that happened is worrisome).  Luckily I have system protection on and proceeded to do restore from yesterday's automatic restore.  Lo and behold, in the last day of 2009, this system has file path length issues.  You have got to be kidding me.  If it created the restore point, should be able to restore it, no?

So, 24 files from the c:\java\eclipse folder cannot be restored.  One of the pop-ups says:  "The source file name(s) are larger then is supported by the file system. ......
Cw Constants WithLookupExamples\$CwConstants.c...    "  The only options offered are 'skip' or 'cancel'.

-- Josef

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Windows 7 Professional x64, AMD Phenon 2 Quad, 8MB ram, 750G HD, HD4200 vid.
Thursday, December 31, 2009 5:41 PM
• I pretty much glanced through this thread and didn't see mention of this incredibly easy fix, (in most cases)..

So, you have a file that is deep and can't be copied, moved, or anything, including drilling down to it to rename it.

Easiset way to access them.....

Map a drive to the deepest folder., then access that mapped drive. Fixed,, I have ahd to deal with this on many occasions of backing up a customer HDD. File Copy ops would not work. So, map a drive to the deepest folder and there ya go.

for example,,, in the case of....

For the History, the exact path is (I wrap the text for readability):

G:\98264hjngmndvbtuiygo\oiruwhg\auhfguitvgniugysliesd\iuatjhsbgvldsjyurugdfbnlsiughyjb\
p98utyndb\siuhg\uofyg\iushg\resd\g\apiughnv;shign\osfyukjutyetsb\wiuyqiortoiut\uy\tru\dyuj\
dyyj\yt\tyi\cgj\op\yuio\uio\wer\yti\ch\jkl\uyt\fhkj\iop\fshgyftrbrvdf\xcvbertyui\1234567890123.txt

.

.

Map a drive to folder " xcvbertyui" and then access that drive letter to get to the files.

Copy the files out to a folder path that is not so deep.

The reason is,,, some Applications (for whatever reason) will allow you to add new folders and save files ever deeper.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 11:23 PM
• This is all great for solving the problem.  However, I have the associated issue that I have a lot of files that can't be copied since their filenames are too long.  Is there a way to find all of the files that have a filename / structure that would be considered too long for a copy function?  I'd like to find them all and then fix them once.

I'm tired of having to skip them when I copy my files as part of my backing up to a remote hard drive.

Jay.

Monday, August 02, 2010 6:04 PM
• I've just joined this forum - and very much not being a techhead - to echo what JayOttawa has just said. I'm moving all my files to a new machine, Windows 7; right at the end of the process I discover there is a discrepancy between the number of files on my old hard drive and the number on my new one. I'm sure this is because I misunderstood and hence mis-answered a series of messages I got saying that file names were too long. I now need to find these files so I can simplify their names and move them over. How can I do this, without running the whole thing again?

You'd've thought by now it would be possible to do this simple and very basic activity without an issue arising: I've never come across file lengths as a problem in previous versions of windows...

I'm really hoping someone can answer our query, and hoping even more that the answer is one I can understand!

... I'm just missing 23 out of some 31k files... but which??

Wednesday, August 04, 2010 5:23 PM
• @jonca, why not just do tree /F for each of the source folders, then pipe the results through WinDiff or similar. That should show up any changes.
Wednesday, August 04, 2010 10:09 PM
• Path limit is 248 characters.
Path+Filename limit is 260 characters.

Exceeding either will result in the error mentioned.

I have this issue too when moving data from a 1.5TB external to my 1.5TB RAID hard drive. While I agree that simplifying folders is a great suggestion, it doesn't help people who still need to move large amounts of data. The only options you have are:

• Skip
• Cancel

That doesn't help anybody!! How about a "rename" option that autorenames the file to a shorter version that is acceptable? That would be the most helpful than those two. If I have 200 files that are too long, it will be impossible to track down each file in each folder and rename it manually.An auto-rename would definitely do the trick.

Saturday, September 04, 2010 5:19 AM
• QUOTATION from Jimhonzell aka Jim Honzell?
Path limit is 248 characters.
Path+Filename limit is 260 characters.

Exceeding either will result in the error mentioned.

I came to this forum looking for an answer to a question, and found unwitting myopic arrogance!

The first three lines in this quote are very useful, as is the next post by Jim. But the last recommendation is fatuous, even arrogant, and perhaps just plain ignorant!

Let me explain. For several years now, I have replaced my Dell laptop's hard drive, to the point where it is now 500GB in size. Last weekend it crashed {and yes, Microsoft is implicated}.

Now since I created all those directory structures on my XP drive, using Microsoft software, and since the software NEVER once suggested that my directory names were TOO LONG, AND since it allowed me to create very long path names, THEN WHY WOULD THE SAME SOFTWARE SUBSEQUENTLY REFUSE TO COPY SUCH LONG FILE NAMES. {Is this actually LOGICAL design?}

I don't need a TECHNICAL answer. I'm A+ certified, an MCSD, I have a Ph.D. in pure mathematics, I have programmed in at least 13 different programming languages {but I'm too slow at programming to earn a living!}, have built over 30 MS Servers most with SQL, taught and used Linux & Unix - you get the point. I am neither impressed with myself nor what I know, nor what I have done - BUT, it will be difficult to fool me with any technical answers or jargon!

So please answer this simple question: WHY HAS MICROSOFT ALLOWED US TO CREATE PATHNAMES+ FILENAMES OF SUCH A LENGTH THAT EVEN THE SAME SOFTWARE CANNOT COPY THEM?????

And then when we have a problem, some one tells us to "Simplify your folders." Where in my 380 GBs of files do you suggest I begin? Are you available to come over this weekend and help? Have you ever faced such a problem yourself? If so, how did you solve it? Do you have any really useful functional advice to give us in this situation?

I'm not belligerent, I'm disappointed. Jim Honzell may or may not be a fine individual - I am inclined to believe really he is. But he gave a Microsoft answer, not a helping hint - which I certainly need. Were I wealthy enough to afford a large RAID, I probably wouldn't have to concern myself with such mundane matters!

And the more times I see his suggestion to simplify the file names, the more I want to contact Microsoft and have him be seconded here to my home to help simplify my directory structure. Jim, have you ever written a recursive program to visit every sub-folder? I barely got one written in VB 5 once. We could work together to produce such code which would go to the bottom of the path, count the path length, prompt us to provide a new folder name, recalculate the path length, etc, etc, etc. In no time, we would have those path names in those 380 GBs whipped into shape! How much fun would that be?

Microsoft are you listening? - telling me the design rules after the fact, letting me violate those rules without warning and then refusing to help me - signs of a functional design? - I think not.

AND IT ANNOYS ME THAT THESE PROBLEMS ARE ON AN XP SYSTEM WHILE WE ARE TWO GENERATIONS FURTHER ALONG TO WINDOWS 7 - AND NOTHING HAS CHANGED!!

Perhaps in future, I could simplify my filename structure, since Microsoft shows no sign of fixing its design which allowed the problem to occur in the first place.

Some people have come here in search of a solution - you instead have "essentially" told them what they did wrong.

Microsoft has been doing this for years. Examples: the Mode command in DOS 3.2.1 {3.3.1?} just plain didn't work - as a Microsoft technician admitted/told me after he had no solutions to my problem. I went to IBM PC DOS to get A SOLUTION.

Windows 3.0's memory pointers would keep wrapping around and filling up the front end of memory. Then Word 1.0 {1.1?} would become more and more sluggish and then would freeze. Solution - periodically reboot, allow memory pointers to reset and ... then ... wait for Windows 3.1! {Or 3.11 lol!}

I had to travel to Waterloo University, a universally recognized centre for Software Research to ferret out this information, because every call to Microsoft about it resulted in an attempt to stonewall me - no answers were given. This cost me a lot of money and eventually a customer and much good will.

Visual Basic 4.0 would install as a network application on most but not all networks. Good thing, as it was designed to create network applications. Then when it wouldn't install as a network application on one network? "It was never designed to be installed on a network! Besides, right now we are too busy working on VB 5, which will be installable on a network."

Are there any answers which would help us easily copy files with long file names?

Now you see the reason for my name/handle! Regards, Jim

Saturday, September 11, 2010 7:39 PM
• Another long file name example - how to fix please?

I have older Toshiba Satellite with Windows XP service Pack 3 running very happily.  I am using ENDNOTE X2.0.1 to handle thesis references & store pdf files of old books.   A typical file name of old book from  EEBO (Early English Books Online database) is Anon-The_True_manner_of_the_most_magnificent-Wing-T2761-232_E_1866_2_-p1to13.pdf .

This file name is already an abbreviation of the book title of The True Manner of the Most Magnificent Conveyance of His Highnesse Effigies from Sommerset-House to Westminster on Tuesday November 23, 1658. Together, with an Exact Account of the Whole Equipage of the Mourners, and the Order They Did Goe in from Sommerset-House to the Abby of Westminster Both before and Behind the Hearse. As Also, the Pompous and Princely Manner of His Effigies, Lying before on a Bed of State, and Afterwareds Standiug [Sic] Upon an Ascent under a Rich Cloth of Estate an Sommerset House. London: Printed for Tho Vere, and Will. Gilbertson, without Newgate and in Guilt spur street, 1658.  In 1658, the publishers weren't worried about file names too much.

When I attach this file to the bibliographic entry in the EndNote library .enl file using relative link EndNote generates a folder inside a folder and the resulting Folder name is C:\Documents and Settings\RRRR\My Documents\My eBooks\Endnote\Iconoclasm & Counter-Iconoclasm.Data\PDF\Anon-The_True_manner_of_the_most_magnificent-Wing-T2761-232_E_18-4146593792

In XP, the resulting C:\Documents and Settings\RRRR\My Documents\My eBooks\Endnote\Iconoclasm & Counter-Iconoclasm.Data\PDF\Anon-The_True_manner_of_the_most_magnificent-Wing-T2761-232_E_18-4146593792\Anon-The_True_manner_of_the_most_magnificent-Wing-T2761-232_E_1866_2_-p1to13.pdf opens ok no worries.

The value of keeping the long file name is provenance ie I then know exactly which version of the old book I have downloaded.  If I changed the file name then I would also need to have another database of equivalence tables.  I cannot change the way that EndNote generates its folder names.  If I switch away from running Endnote in relative link mode (ie the mode that generates the long folder name & path) then I can't shift the library and data between machines.  All the above works ok on my desktop pc with XP.

There are abt 1500 entries like this in the .enl library.

When I shift this over to my new Toshiba Satellite running Windows 7 with EndNote X2.0.4 there seem to be 2 problems.

Firstly sometimes the pdf doesn't transfer across at all beacuse the name is too long so the folder EndNote has created comes across but empty.

Secondly sometimes the pdf comes across in the folder but wont open because whole thing too long.

I was also hoping to back up my old XP laptop & XP desktop to the new Windows 7 laptop but when I tried this an unknown number of the files would not copy across because of long path/names.

Long paths are almost inevitable with my (ie an ordinary user) method ie copy to external 500Gb usb hard drive into a folder with descriptive name like Backup15SEP2010ThesisPICSfrmOldToshiba and within which there wld be subfolders also with descriptive names & then recopy to another folder on the destination pc.

I am loath to start renaming everything - wld be at least a week of work & possibly 2 weeks.

Is there a fix for Windows 7 in the pipeline? or is there any other way to do this?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 2:58 AM
• How the heck do I do that?

Does MS expect me to manually look through 175 GB of files, and count the path lenghts?

Come on there must be some sort of fix for this.....

If not I am just screwed with an OS that will not allow me to do a simple copy to back up.

Saturday, October 02, 2010 6:11 AM
• I am copying about 45Gb of files to another drive and have got the dreaded message ‘the file names would be too long for the destination file’.

As geotso says, why have the bozos at Microsoft dumped us with this totally ludicrous limitation.  Whilst I appreciate the explanations here on character limitations, most probably know that already but in the real world things are complicated and complex filing structures lead to long file names.

Is anyone aware of a programme that will tell you whether there are going to be any files with overly long names that you propose to copy to another drive before you start the process?  Surely someone must have come up with a programme for this or alternatively one that allows you to change the file names at the point that we find we are in trouble i.e. when we in the process of copying.  By that I mean something easily usable and not resorting to techy command lines.

Once the copying process is nearly complete and the error message has come up I’m not sure what to do.  If I accept and continue, then I have to find the differences between the two versions of files by comparing with Scooter software's Beyond Compare 3  It’s a brilliant bit of software but I don’t think its main intention was for sorting out Microsoft’s incompetence in providing a real-life usable system.

Maybe techies don’t have to do any complex filing so don’t see the need for a long filepath and therefore their answers are how to truncate the filenames rather than sorting the OS so that it’s usable.

Saturday, October 02, 2010 11:38 AM
• I think there is a similar thread somewhere here that recommends deleting the application data folder.

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Sunday, October 03, 2010 11:33 AM
• I experience this on XP, but it seems this problem still lingers into 7, so hopefully my experiences can still be useful.  You can use Total Commander to force files with overly long path+filenames to copy elsewhere.  I've used it to move files into a deeper folder that put the length over the limit.  You can also use it to move files that are too deep and long that Explorer won't touch into shallower folders.  It will also rename your files even if Explorer won't let you.

For copying/pasting large numbers of files, I usually use a combo of Teracopy and Total Commander.  Teracopy's much faster than Windows copy (at least on XP), keeps track of all the files it couldn't copy, and tells you if it's because the names were too long.  If I don't have time to rename stuff, I'll then just go force all those files over with Total Commander.  It's not pretty, but it keeps you from losing any files.

Now, of course, once you force an overly long filename over to somewhere, Windows Explorer won't have anything to do with it, but that's something that can be dealt with later in many cases if you're trying to just trying to move lots of files at once.

I've also found that Cobian Backup will let you copy filenames that are too long as part of the backup.  Again, after they get where they're going, though, Windows Explorer will not deal with them until you shorten their names/paths.

If you're doing a backup of a whole drive (or much of it), I've found that drive imaging programs don't care about file name and path lengths.  Plus they're a lot faster than file-by-file copy and paste by a long shot.  DriveImage XML works wonderfully.  Just a few hours ago I recovered a file that Explorer wouldn't let me do anything with by going into my DIXML backup file, finding the file, and then extracting it into a shallower folder.  Worked great.  It's kind of a backdoor copy and paste.

All of those are free-for-personal-use programs, by the way.

Now, as to the character limit itself, it's got to be the most annoying thing I've found about Windows, and I'm not a hater by any means.  At my business, I'm always struggling to get people to use descriptive file names and well-designed folder structures so we don't spend forever trying to find information.  Information builds up quickly in engineering and it's not abnormal for me to have 10+ levels of folders for one job and 40-character file names.  This character limitation might as well just be called a comprehensibility limitation.  I don't know how businesses deal with it, but I bet it costs millions of dollars in wasted time, either renaming files or trying to find poorly-named files.  It's really annoying that it STILL hasn't been fixed with Windows 7.  Hopefully someone's listening.

• Proposed as answer by Tuesday, January 04, 2011 10:23 PM
Tuesday, October 19, 2010 7:02 PM
• I would also like an answer to this question. I just cloned the contents of my 500GB drive over to a new 2TB one, but due to a problem with the eSata connection, some of the files got corrupted. Now upon trying to copy certain files from the 500GB drive to overwrite the corrupted files in the 2TB, I get the "Filename Too Long" error. These files used to be in D:\Downloaded\LearningVideos\... and to try to rectify the issue, I even copied them to the new D:\ root. However while this solved some of the long file name issues, it does not solve the rest. The windows error message is no help at all - the filename in error is shown as "Debug" without showing the path - all 47 folders containing gigs of videos have a 'Debug' folder in it as it contains the source code and executables for the learning chapter. (It's a learning suite for C#)

The oddest thing is, the "long filename" or "long path" was created not by any programs - I created each directory manually using the New Folder command in Explorer. If it was illegal, why would windows allow the user to do so in the first place? Secondly, I wasn't using a different system or OS. It was the same system from the beginning, Windows 7 64-bit.

This is so strange.

Saturday, October 23, 2010 3:10 AM
• I agree that keeping file names and paths short is only to be recommended, but I must say that Mr. jmhonzell's answer(s) are particularly unhelpful. When you're moving several hundred files at once it is (a) not practical and (b) not possible to start renaming files. Added to this, the two available options are, as mentioned above, completely useless. If the file/path is too long then the user is unable to identify the particular file from the error message, so shortening is not an option. With a "move" you're OK, you just go back and find the remaining files, but with a "copy" you're definitely stymied.

What is needed is the option for users to modify the offending file without breaking off the copy/move process. Other systems have or have had this. So what's the problem?

Oh yes, "2. Use the program that allowed you to create the illegal filename in the first place to change the filename, or move it." But wait! The program I use is called Windows - so no help there. Yes, I can change the name in Explorer. But we're back where we started.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 11:30 AM
• Ok the 'Proposed as an Answer' for Johny.software was an accidental click. Sorry about that (both ways!).

This is what I really typed and lost by accidentally clicking at the wrong place

No need to buy special software fot this. I had a colleague hit this problem today and this is how I fixed it.

She had some how ended up with one file with a big name, and she couldn't read, copy, rename or delete that file.

Do these to fix similar issues

In command prompt (or in RUN dialog box)

SUBST I: <FOLDERNAME THAT HAS THE PROBLEM FILE>

replace i:  with a free drive letter in your system

Now open this I: drive in explorer or command prompt and do whatever. Once done use

SUBST I: /d

to remove the substitued drive

Thanks
VB

• Proposed as answer by Friday, November 19, 2010 4:31 PM
Friday, November 19, 2010 4:31 PM
• We are all missing the elephant in the room.  With Windows 7 64 why does MS not FIX this issue?  It reminds me of the old 8.3 stone age.

As suggested here there needs to be some tools and suggestions to fix this for copying large volumes until a solution is provided.  I have an error message with over 600 long file names and have no idea where to start.

First off, the last 4 hours spent copying all the files are waisted now as it won't be an immage without these 600 files.  MS should run an audit BEFORE starting the copy process and allow the user to fix the issues before it starts.  It should also provide tools to identify and rename these files.  As mentioned, "Skip" and "Cancel" are incredably unhelpful.

Saturday, November 27, 2010 5:35 PM
• I pretty much glanced through this thread and didn't see mention of this incredibly easy fix, (in most cases)..

So, you have a file that is deep and can't be copied, moved, or anything, including drilling down to it to rename it.

Easiset way to access them.....

Map a drive to the deepest folder., then access that mapped drive. Fixed,, I have ahd to deal with this on many occasions of backing up a customer HDD. File Copy ops would not work. So, map a drive to the deepest folder and there ya go.

for example,,, in the case of....

For the History, the exact path is (I wrap the text for readability):

G:\98264hjngmndvbtuiygo\oiruwhg\auhfguitvgniugysliesd\iuatjhsbgvldsjyurugdfbnlsiughyjb\
p98utyndb\siuhg\uofyg\iushg\resd\g\apiughnv;shign\osfyukjutyetsb\wiuyqiortoiut\uy\tru\dyuj\
dyyj\yt\tyi\cgj\op\yuio\uio\wer\yti\ch\jkl\uyt\fhkj\iop\fshgyftrbrvdf\xcvbertyui\1234567890123.txt

.

.

Map a drive to folder " xcvbertyui" and then access that drive letter to get to the files.

Copy the files out to a folder path that is not so deep.

The reason is,,, some Applications (for whatever reason) will allow you to add new folders and save files ever deeper.

As I have already stated, This is the only way that I have found to fix this type of issue.

A good Tool to use to try and find those large files is WinDirStat. Then you should be able to find the last folder and map a drive letter to that folder and retrieve the files. Copy them to a shorter File Path. This WILL resolve the issue.

But in the future you will need to understand and keep an eye on where you are saving stuff.

I know a lot of users who do not do that. They see a file they want to save, but don't understand folder structure, then save the file and can't find it again. They end up saving everything under the sun on the Root C: or under C:\Windows or C:\Windows\System32 or under their user Profile.

The best way to avoid this issue, is to understand fully Folder Structure and File placement.
Very much like keeping a very very large File Cabinet System in order.

If you do not get a full understanding of where you are saving your files, you will continue having problems like this. As well as other problems of losing where you save your files, or saving them in the worst places possible.

The problem may be a slight bit with Windows, but it is more of a 3rd Party Application and an End User Problem.

Saturday, November 27, 2010 10:27 PM
• I'm running the 7100 build...enjoying it except for one big thing:

While attempting to copy 402gb from my main storage volume onto a spare 500gb drive (for the purpose of changing to a new RAID array) I've come across something that I would expect a Windows 98 OS to give me.

It tells me that a file has TOO LONG of a file name, then provides with two unhelpful options: SKIP or CANCEL

I never had XP give me an issue like this at all, so what gives? And while some specific files did have long file names (such as for songs, etc.) it had 7 issues with folders stating that their name was too long, but in fact they were not since they were titled '07-06-07' for the date that I dumped the audio files in them. However, they may have contained FILES with long file names though.

Anyone else get this same situation? Perhaps the RTM version does not do this? Can anyone verify this regarding their install of the RC or the RTM?

It made it through 400gb out of the 402gb transfer.

I'm just happy to see that it doesn't spazz out about an issue like this until it has done all the other transfers that it can do because it saves the issues it has with files until the very end. In XP it would spazz about it the moment it came across it causing the transfer process to halt.
try www.longPathTool.com
Thursday, December 16, 2010 1:25 PM
• Unfortunately, "an illegal length file name" of around a quarter thousand characters is not an acceptable excuse, when Windows 7 _has_ the capability to create file path names of length 120 times that long.

This is just another case of Microsoft releasing a product for its customers to debug, a constant habit since at least 1982 when I first started using MS-DOS 1.

I have desktop.ini files showing up on my desktop one after the other, right now, three of them.

Mysterious shortcut-looking, "file folder"-described duplicate names of my existing file folder names, one after another.

Oh, and trying to copy a bunch of long file names, long folder names, very deep path files that WinXP was perfectly happy to copy to an external hard drive, using Explorer's bulk copy tools, naturally, Win7 couldn't do the same task without spitting hundreds of errors, moving the files back to an internal disk released from the factory loaded with Windows 7.

That sort of behavior in an "upgrade" is simply intolerable.

It's really disappointing to see that Microsoft's quality control capability for software remains so close to zero as to be imperceptibly different, 28 years later and with the company sitting on a cash reserve in the billions it couldn't see fit to spend on SQA.

I've been programming since 1961, and haven't managed to release a program with a bug in it in all that time.

Writing good software _is_ possible, Microsoft simply chooses not to do it, and the present product is just one more example in a line of thousands.

xanthian.

Sunday, December 26, 2010 5:23 AM
• I have the problem because I use Blaze Advisor rule engine, and it automatically creates files and directories that exceed the limits. I have two solutions that I use:

1) Karen's Replicator http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptreplicator.asp#Download which allows me to make backups with long filenames. But i can also just copy trees with it.

2) 7zip - this is an archiving tool like winzip. I pack the file into an archive, then i can unpack it without the dreaded message. http://www.7-zip.org/

George

Thursday, March 03, 2011 7:11 PM
• I have this problem too

I searched internet and find this solution

you can check it in the adress below :

http://www.searchmarked.com/windows/how-to-get-past-the-250-character-limit-on-windows-file-copying.php

-------------------------------------------------

the solution is :

-Open up the command prompt by going to “Start->Run” and typing “cmd”

-In the command prompt window type the following:
subst v: "c:\path\to\your\ridiculous\unnecessarily\buried\folder\under\a\folder\under\a\folder"

Now instead of trying to copy “c:\path\to\your\ridiculous\unnecessarily\buried\folder\under\a\folder\under\a\folder\file.txt”

You will be copying “v:\file.txt”

When you are done with the virtual drive you can unmap it by typing the following at the command prompt:
subst v: /d

That’s it! If you are a user reading this, please try to use more sensible file organization techniques. If you are an IT professional, congratulations for not strangling your users. Happy File Copying!

-------------------------------------------

enjoy it !!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 7:20 AM
• I am frustrated by the arrogance of Siamak, Jgeek09, and jmhonzell! You do not know anything about the type of work being done, but you can make assumptions and judgements on how someone organizes their folder structure?

My work in my business REQUIRES multiple and often deep levels of folders in order to be organized. There is simply no other viable option. Just because YOU cannot imagine a need, do not assume we are all idiots.

I encountered this "path too long" issue, and have not completely resolved it. However, I installed the trial version from pathtoolong.com, and it provided me with the 700+ filenames that I needed. Now I can at least fix the issue.

I am beginning to understand why so many people dislike Microsoft. A fix should be implemented.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011 6:32 AM
• Yes that's Microsoft for you, been polishing turds for ages. No real reason why this limit exists now other than it's not cost effective for Microsoft to properly develop their software. Just keep re-skinning their products and selling them again as a new product (warts and all).

Monday, May 30, 2011 6:24 PM
• Thank you, thank you, thank you !!!!!!!!!! lol ....

it helped :) was stuck up with it for quite some time

thank you very much :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011 1:09 PM
• Here's an even better example of Microsoft painting us in a corner.  I have to move files that MICROSOFT SQL Server created, but I get the above message.  Awesome ain't it?  Mcirosoft's own application creats the "illegal" filename, which their documentation says it should be able to handle but clearly does not and now have to jump through hoops just ot copy a file for backup.

Thursday, June 30, 2011 10:50 PM
• Here's an even better example of Microsoft painting us in a corner.  I have to move files that MICROSOFT SQL Server created, but I get the above message.  Awesome ain't it?  Mcirosoft's own application creats the "illegal" filename, which their documentation says it should be able to handle but clearly does not and now have to jump through hoops just ot copy a file for backup.

Whereas I totally agree on the fact that the long name issue is a real pain when it comes to solving a users's problem, SQL Server comes with its own Backup tools.

Create a map drive in local or on a network. Then run the backup:

BACKUP DATABASE YOURDB
to disk='x:\yourdb.bak' with init
GO

I don't see how you can have this long filename problem with SQL.

Cheers

Rem

Friday, July 01, 2011 7:05 AM
• Path+Filename limit is 260 characters.

This is annoying.

Please show me the best explorer.exe shell extension that doesn't have the MAX_PATH limit.

And to Microsoft: you are the best but get rid of your antiquated C code from 1990!

Friday, August 05, 2011 4:33 PM
• try using cygwin:

cp -dpr  [root-directory-with-too-long-deep]/ /cygdrive/c/[target-directory]/

this keep your path untouched and you don't need to do anything.

Thx.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 4:35 PM
• Topis seems old but I've had this problem just now. I solved it by using Total Commander (trial version). It allows you to either "copy as is" or rename. Copying with it went smoothly.
My company website www.evotec.pl My other website www.pro-solutions.pl with some simple/small projects.
Tuesday, October 04, 2011 9:57 PM
• Simplify your folders and titles.