Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm using Windows Vista Home Premium SP2, and when moving extra long favorites from an internal 500GB hard drive to an external USB-connected MyBook 2TB hard drive, I get a file copy operation failure. I can't really find an explanation for why this is happening.

It appears that the lengths of the failed names are all about 260 characters long. However, Internet Explorer 8 and Internet Explorer 9 both had no problems storing the favorites initially.

Any suggestions or helpful hints would be greatly appreciated.

share|improve this question

migrated from May 10 '11 at 0:13

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

In Windows the full file path cannot be more than 255 (254?) characters. It is possible for applications to store files in a folder that will create a full path longer than this, but if you try to reference the file using the full path it will fail.

There are a couple of ways to fix this. You can rename folders in the path with shorter names to bring the full path of the files under the max length. You can also use the subst command to create a drive letter some way down the path so that the path of the files relative to that drive letter is shorter than the max length.

share|improve this answer
Andrew's mostly correct. It's 260 characters for "normal" Windows operations, although some programs can use paths as long as 32,000+ characters. It's probably outside the scope of SU, but here's a programmer-oriented series of articles explaining it.‌​3-kim-hamilton.aspx. – Patrick S. May 10 '11 at 1:41

I once had a problem moving big files from an internal hard drive to an external hard drive.

I found the cause to be because the drive was using a FAT file system; if that's the same for you too, be sure that you don't have any files exceding 700MB in size. If you do, divide them into smaller files using WinRAR or something similar.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.