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?
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.
robocopy /E source destination
Windows 7 and above, (including Windows 10):
Robocopy XP027 is a standard command on Windows 7 and above.
Windows versions > 7 may have other Robocopy versions,
as Robocopy is still maintained.
Please read the link above for more details regarding,
limitations in specific versions of Robocopy.
NT 4/ Windows 2000:
The Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools include Robocopy XP010,
which can be run on NT 4/ Windows 2000.
Windows 95, or NT 3.5:
Robocopy does not run on Windows 95, or NT 3.5. (Robocopy is a Unicode application).
Windows 95, or NT 3.5 workaround:
The Microsoft Robocopy GUI will install Robocopy XP026 to C:\Windows\system32,
this version can run on older OS's,
and includes some features from XP027 (/BYTES) but has competely broken errorlevel handling.
Robocopy 'Jobs' and the 'Monitor source' option provide an alternative to setting up a Scheduled Task to run a batchfile with a Robocopy command.
You can access path lengths up to ~32,767¹ characters by prefixing them with
This works from the command prompt and any other programs which use the Win32 Unicode Api methods, including .Net apps.
It does require a file system that supports long paths (eg NTFS) but if you have a long path problem, that's a given.
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.
You can also use a variant
\\?\UNC\ to access long paths across network shares...
¹ For those that are interested, it is 32,767 not 32,768 as it's a null-terminated string, but the
\\?\ may be expanded, consuming some characters, so don't rely on the count being precise.
I use a much more easier software solution:
You might either
1) Using FreeFileSync to copy files at the very beginning, OR
2) in my case, I have copied files with Explorer, it alerts me that some files are not copied because of long file names. Then I use FreeFileSync to sync the remaining (non-copied) files.
The good thing is: the copy speed is quite fast.