# Reaching the file character limit in file paths. Non-admin work around?

So I have a user that has to deal with files that are in folder after folder after folder. Getting to the files is no issue. Accessing them is an issue as the user is constantly getting the error that states the name is too long. Is there a work around for this short of a symbolic link or changing the shell? I know this is a Windows Explorer limitation in Windows 7.

• The workaround is don't do that. Come up with another method of organising the files that does not involve such long file names. – DavidPostill Sep 8 '16 at 20:40
• You would have to replace Windows Explorer with another shell to do this on Windows 7. Only Windows 10 Version 1607 supports paths long then 255 characters, even then, it does not apply to Windows Explorer. – Ramhound Sep 8 '16 at 22:44
• Thanks for the comments. I really was hoping of for a solution. I did read somewhere that you could use \\?\ for longer paths, but I'm not sure how to apply that to this scenario. The user is actually accessing the files on a shared resource drive which really confuses me because I thought that would allow longer paths. The only solution I found was to set symbolic links for resources the user needs which made the documents accessible since that excludes the original path which I would call this a fix but it needs admin privileges so I have to do it. – David Prentice Sep 8 '16 at 23:50

You can create a kind of shortcut to reach the root of your long path tree, which will allow you to drive deeper in your tree.

• Non-admin users can use subst command to create a virtual drive which points to a folder. This finally creates a shorten path to everything under that folder. Typical usage (not stored between reboots):

subst j: c:\path\to\the\root\of\your\big\tree

• NTFS filesystem also supports links which creates a virtual folder somewhere as a direct door to access another folder. They can be use for the same purpose of path length workaround and at least junction link kind does not requires admin privileges. Those virtual folders are persistant against reboot, until you delete them using rmdir (avoid del which may also delete pointed-to data).

cd "short-path-writable-folder"

rmdir linkname