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Long Paths on Windows Systems

"File Path Too Long" is a frequently encountered error especially on enterprise storage. Many applications, the .Net Framework and Windows itself have major issues with paths that have 260 or more characters, the result is that typically files in long paths cannot be used.

While Windows' standard file system (NTFS) supports paths up to 65,535 characters, Windows imposes a maximum path length of 255 characters (without drive letter), the value of the constant MAX_PATH. This limitation is a remnant of MS DOS and has been kept for reasons of compatibility. Although Windows 1603 (Anniversary update) allows turning off this limitation, this option is not enabled by default as many applications still do not work properly with long paths. TreeSize of course fully supports long paths.

Long paths are often created accidentally, for example if a volume is integrated into a Distributed File System (DFS) tree or a top-level folder get a longer name. Once a path has exceeded the maximum length, Windows Explorer can no longer access it.

How to fix the "File Path Too Long" error

The best way to solve long path problems is shortening a few folder names. But it is good to do this pro-actively instead of letting user run into trouble from time to time.

TreeSize and long paths

Use the TreeSize File Search to find all paths that exceed a certain path length:

TreeSize customizable search with filters

Example: Find path that get too long in case the volume is mounted in a DFS tree

The path of a volume in the DFS has a length of 50 characters. Use the Custom File Search to find paths with at least 205 characters. Export a list of all found file paths and tell the user to shorten them.

Example: Modifying long paths

You need to access files in a long path, but Windows Explorer won't let you? Since TreeSize File Search fully supports long paths, you can execute any copy, move or rename operation on long path within TreeSize.