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I have used both Acronis and Windows backup to take a backup and restore it to another computer. Both fail. When I do a count of the size of the restored files and the amount of them they are both lower on the new restore.

I have also used Syncback to try and clone the directory structure but this also fails. I get errors like

Failed to copy source: Cannot move file (3): The system cannot 
find the path specified 

When I inspect the files they are all present. I think perhaps some of the issue is that my filenames are getting too long for the external drive?

\Music Production\Ableton\Library\Packs\Sample Packs\Loopmasters - Deep Tech Utility Loops [Nice Bass Loops]\Loopmasters - Deep Tech Utility Loops WAV LPS\DTU_BASS_LPS\DTU_125_B_Bassline_08.wav

Its really annoying because I want to do a format and restore EVERYTHING. I just dont know what else to try. Copy across a network directly to my other machine but that will take ages!

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Give Microsoft's free SyncToy a try or even just the command-line xcopy utility. – martineau Apr 2 '12 at 18:21
@martineau: 'synctoy' is 'robocopy in disguise', 'robocopy' is 'xcopy-ng' and both tools won't help if the filename is either too long or if the system does not allow the user to access / read the file. – akira Apr 2 '12 at 18:24
I assume your trying to mount these backups? Because the restoration of a the image itself shouldn't care that the path is to long. – Ramhound Apr 2 '12 at 18:29
acronis does not actually image everything on the drive, there are some things that are unessential for a complete backup. so at the first sentace, it would be important to note if there was any critical file loss beyond size on disk. for sector for sector, and disk cloning, it might do everything, not quite sure. why image a paging file for example? or FS journal, or hibernation file. – Psycogeek Apr 3 '12 at 3:24
up vote 0 down vote accepted

The Windows API has the bad habit of limiting pathname + filename to 260 chars. See this MSDN article. Note that is not a limitation of NTFS, but OS/API specific. You might try some workarounds from the article (e.g. using the Unicode API), but there's no general solution for this problem.

One can easily confirm this problem by creating some long path like the one you mentioned. Most things you can do in Windows Explorer will fail, but at least give you reasonable error messages ("Path too long", won't let you type too long file-/pathnames), but most of the applications aren't prepared for this and will "freak out" - e.g. I had this problem with long MP3 folders and Winamp kept skipping the files as if they were corrupt or not present.

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260 chars is only a limit if you don't use the unicode-api, see the same url you provided. note: just mentioning this, it might really be a problem with the backup-program using the limiting api. – akira Apr 2 '12 at 18:45
I count this as a workaround (edited the answer to clarify it), but as Windows Explorer and most applications won't do this, you'll get unaccessible files which is even worse than not being able to extract the backup. – schnaader Apr 2 '12 at 18:50

you might want to try Disk2VHD, i have used it once with quite some success. you can create the .vhd (a dynmic disc container) on a network-share or another disc. you can then "mount" that vhd to any other system and get the files back out of the image:

Disk2vhd is a utility that creates VHD (Virtual Hard Disk - Microsoft's Virtual Machine disk format) versions of physical disks for use in Microsoft Virtual PC or Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs). The difference between Disk2vhd and other physical-to-virtual tools is that you can run Disk2vhd on a system that’s online. Disk2vhd uses Windows' Volume Snapshot capability, introduced in Windows XP, to create consistent point-in-time snapshots of the volumes you want to include in a conversion. You can even have Disk2vhd create the VHDs on local volumes, even ones being converted (though performance is better when the VHD is on a disk different than ones being converted).

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