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I need to make backups of some files on a network share. However, I need to copy those files to my local drive before burning the disks because those files might be in use. Some of the files won't copy because the file path is too long. Is there any workaround other than changing the file structure?

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See also Window 256 characters path name limitation. –  Gilles Dec 1 '10 at 0:59

4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Maximum path length is 260 in Windows Vista/7. I can recommend three solutions:

  • (if the path is too long) First copy the folder to upper levels in windows explorer and then move it to your local computer
  • (if file names are too long) First try to zip/rar/7z them with an archive application and then copy the archive file to your local computer and then extract the contents.
  • Use third party apps.

All of these suggestions assume you have some sort of write access on the network shared folder/computer. If you can't do any of these then you might need help from your administrator.

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zipping the files worked! –  Brian Sturm Nov 30 '10 at 21:19
robocopy /E source destination

Robust File and Folder Copy.

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You can access path lengths up to ~32K characters by prefixing with \\?\. This works from the command prompt (and some programs which use the Win32Api Unicode methods).


Note that certain applications and a lot of native tools (like Explorer) will have problems with these paths so use this to get yourself out of a hole, not into one.

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This is a really great tip. I also works to get around handling com1, com2 etc filenames. –  Andreas Reiff Jan 6 at 11:58

How does this suit you.

In Regedit browse to this folder

and set the following value to 0

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Can you elaborate? –  Imray Aug 26 '13 at 5:41

protected by slhck Sep 13 '12 at 13:13

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