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Does built in Windows 7 backup handle paths > 256 chars ?

I'm doing NTFS to NTFS backup using Cobain, from external drive to external drive, and it's simply NOT backing up those files that have path > 256.

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Have you considered using robocopy instead? – Harry Johnston Jan 31 '12 at 3:56
I ended up with a compromise, using Cobian as main backup tool, and RoboMirror/robocopy for plain syncing of the folders with extremely long paths. robocopy and cobian are both excellent tools. both can be used for "contributing" to a mirrored folder, however cobian puts every contribution event in a new folder, giving you slightly more detail what was contributed and when. builtin win backup failed with errorcode 0x810000FF. – user19496 Feb 3 '12 at 9:26

it depends:

In the Windows API (with some exceptions discussed in the following paragraphs), the maximum length for a path is MAX_PATH, which is defined as 260 characters.

one of the exceptions is that by using the unicode equivalents of the API you get 32k path length:

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.

so, ntfs itself is quite capable of storing filenames longer than 260 chars but the programmer must use the right API. example given:

To specify an extended-length path, use the "\?\" prefix. For example, "\?\D:\very long path".

read more about the topic at

that said: i think that the builtin backup software of microsoft handles long filenames quite well. i would be a bit sceptic about the one option where it uses zip files as the storage container, but the one using vdk as the storage container should be just fine with the long file names.

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OK, I'll take your word for it and configure win backup. – user19496 Jan 28 '12 at 11:26
With win backup, I get the dreaded errorcode 0x810000FF (which seems related to external USB drives), so I can't verify if it works or not. – user19496 Jan 28 '12 at 19:48

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