Destination Path Too Long Fix (when Moving/Copying a File)

If you are receiving an error Destination Path Too Long when trying to copy or move a file to a folder, try the quick trick below. The reason you are receiving the error is that File Explorer failed to copy/delete/rename any path-name longer than 256 characters.  The instructions below apply to Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2012R2/2016/2019.

This is not the limitation of NTFS file system, but the Win32 API library. MAX_PATH value in Win32 API is 260. Most standard applications, including Windows Explorer (File Explorer), do not work correctly with files long paths exceeding 256 characters. Under the file name, Windows understands the entire path, starting with the root of the drive, ending with the last subfolder and the file name itself.

When using Unicode API functions, it is possible to use a path of up to 32767 characters. Thanks to this, many third-party programs (the popular file managers, for example FAR and Total Commander) process files/folders without any problems, the path length to which exceeds 256 characters.

Note. Some programs use the UNC file path format (prefixed with ?) to bypass the limitations of the Win32 API. For example, the absolute file path might look like this: \\?C:\folder1\subfolder1\toolongfilename.

Due to max path length limitations, the administrator may encounter the following problems:

  • Users can create files and folders in a shared network folder that the administrator (or management scripts) cannot access locally;
  • Errors when synchronizing roaming profiles;
  • Errors data recovery from shadow copies;
  • Incorrect calculation of the directories size;
  • Lost files during migration and data transfer between servers, etc.

Destination Path Too Long Fix

Full Error: “The file name(s) would be too long for the destination folder. You can shorten the file name and try again, or try a location that has a shorter path.”

Screenshot of Destination Path Too Long error on Windows Server 2008

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destination path too long

Screenshot of Destination Path Too Long error on Windows 8:

the file name would be too long for the destination folder

Solution 1. Rename Parent Folder to Decrease the Full Path

The simplest way is to shorten the name of the parent folders, decreasing the total path length (but not always applicable) by simply renaming it.

Solution 2. Create a symbolic link

Another option is to create a symbolic link to a part of the path, thus shortening the total path length. To create a link you can use the following command:

mklink /d c:\homelink “C:\verylongpathhere……”

Next, perform file operations with the directory to which the symbolic link is assigned (c:\homelink in our case).

Solution 3. Use Subst utility

Another option is to associate the problem folder to a virtual disk (in our example, Z:), using the built-in utility Subst. Thus, you can also shorten the path length:

Subst Z: “C:\verylongpathhere……”

Now you can work with the data on the Z: drive, the path to the files in which will not exceed the Win32 API path limit. After your job is finished, you can delete the virtual disk using the Subst with the /d option:

Subst Z: /d

Solution 4. Hidden share path

Step 1

The quickest fix for this, especially if you are needing to simply migrate (move) a lot of folders from one place to another is to map a drive to the drilled down the folder.

What you should is browse to the hidden share path and copy it to your clipboard.

file name too long for destination folder

Step 2

Then browse to “Computer” or “My Computer” and click on Map Network Drive. Depending on your OS it might appear under the tools menu.

the file name is too long for the destination folder

Step 3

Then simply paste your long folder path and hit Finish.

the file names would be too long for the destination folder

Step 4

Now you will be able to copy the files/folders into this location without receiving the error.

Solution 5. How to Enable Long Path Support in Windows 10 (1607) and higher

In Windows 10 Anniversary Update (1607), it became possible to disable the MAX_PATH limit on the Windows operation system level without using prefix \\?. By default, this feature is disabled.

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To enable the built-in support for long paths in Windows 10/Windows Server 2016, you can use the Regedit.exe editor to set the LongPathsEnabled parameter of REG_DWORD in the registry key HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\ControlFileSystem with a value 1.

the file name(s) would be too long for the destination folder

You can change this registry parameter with the following PowerShell command:

Set-ItemProperty -Path HKLM:\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\ControlFileSystem -Name LongPathsEnabled -Value 1

Or you can enable long path support via Group Policy Editor (Win + R gpedit.msc) Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Filesystem. Enable the policy Enable NTFS long paths.

destination path too long windows 10

For the changes to take effect in both cases, the computer needs to be rebooted. After a reboot, users and programs will be able to work without restrictions with files, the length of the path to which exceeds 256 characters. Now the files will only be affected by the NTFS file system file path limit of 32767 characters.

However, in some applications, the MAX_PATH check is embedded in the code. About the max file path restrictions for .Net developers, see the Solution 7 below.

Solution 6. Using Robocopy Utility to Copy and Move Files

To copy or move data, you can use the built-in console Windows tool — robocopy. The robocopy utility allows you to correctly copy and synchronize files and directories with long paths.

For example, if you cannot delete the directory due to the path length limit, you can first move data from the directory using robocopy:

ROBOCOPY c:\folder1\folder2\folder3\longpath\ c:\tmp\ /MOVE /E

file name would be too long for the destination folder

After that, you can delete the source directory:

Delete c:\folder1\folder2\folder3\longpath\ /q /f

Solution 7. Long File Path for .Net Developers

The Base Class Library (BCL) of the development environment for the .Net Framework has a built-in preliminary check for the admissibility of long directory and file names. Therefore .Net Framework developers may encounter a System.IO.PathTooLongException error in their programs.

Check for path length removed from BCL code in .Net Framework 4.6.2. Therefore, developers after updating the version of .Net Framework can use long paths in the UNC path format (\\?C:\Very_long_path) or when the LongPathsEnabled parameter is enabled in Windows 10/Windows Server 2016, it is possible to work with files with paths of almost any length correctly.

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To do this, use Net Framework 4.6.2 (and newer) when building applications, or for older app versions (.Net 4.0), use the following application configuration file:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”utf-8″?>

<configuration>

<startup>

<supportedRuntime version=”v4.0″ sku=”.NETFramework,Version=v4.0″/>

</startup>

<runtime>

<AppContextSwitchOverrides value=”Switch.System.IO.UseLegacyPathHandling=false;Switch.System.IO.BlockLongPaths=false” />

</runtime>

</configuration>

Solution 8. Long File Path in PowerShell .Net Developers

Because PowerShell is based on .Net, in order for the Get-Item, Get-ChildItem, Remove-Item, etc. cmdlets to work correctly with long file paths, you need to upgrade the .NET Framework to 4.5 or newer and install Windows Management Framework 5.1.

Tip. The current version of PowerShell can be found in the variable $PSVersionTable.

After that, when using file cmdlets instead of Path, you need to use the LiteralPath parameter. For example:

Get-ChildItem -literalpath \\?C:\PS

the filename would be too long for the destination folder

Tip #1

There also is a great tool called “Long Path Tool” that works great to fix this, LongPath tool. However it isn’t free, the methods above are.

Tip #2

Thank you, Colin Albright, for the comment below. Yes, you can also use 7-zip or any zip utility to fix Destination Path Too Long problem. Sometimes on single files, this could be a better and faster solution. Just zip the folder up, and your good to go.

35 comments

  1. For this problem there is a quick and effective solution, called the Long Path Tool, solves the problem for sure.

    1. If you read all the way to the bottom, we actually put that in the post :) We agree, that tool is great! But some people might not want to pay the money to unlock it. Thank you for your comment!

      1. problem I have is saving mostly Excel files to nested SharePoint library folders. Combo of the file name and the path apparently exceeds the 256? character limit. What I don’t understand is why I can save the same Excel file to a local drive, then copy and paste it to that same SharePoint subfolder. Enabling long file name support does not help.

    1. Haha, yes 7-zip would definitely fix this problem as well :) In my example I was actually thinking more of entire directories containing hundreds of files. Yes, you could zip up the entire directory, but sometimes that takes a little longer. Depends on the size though. 7-zip definitely works great for single file copies though where this problem occurs.

      Thank you for commenting! I will add that as a user tip at the bottom of the post.

      1. Up to what size does it work with Zip?
        I need to copy the back up from the external hard drive unto the server.
        We tried the Zip method and it starts up and everything, but when it is done,
        you don’t find the Zip folder you created .

  2. Thanks for commenting. We actually included that in our post towards the bottom. However some functionality of LongPathTool cost money. It is a great tool though! I use it quite often.

  3. A diff description of Brian’s nice solution.
    Just ‘map network drive’ the folder that contain the long file name file.
    In Win 8 it will map and auto open the folder.
    Delete the long named file
    Disconnect the temporary mapped folder

    1. Dude! I cannot change or remove or otherwise shorten path names. First of all there are THOUSANDS of them in the folder. Secondly there are apps in each of thousands of folders that require things be in the EXACT sub folder paths. A better solution would be for MICRO-CHEESE to give us a free application to move / copy / delete folders with long paths. After all they allowed us to create the paths in the first place. They created this problem by trying to make everything compatible with ancient versions of their OS. Then sit back and say “Working as intended” and make us buy third party applications to do what the OS should do by default????

      1. I have the same problem and I have, over the years, stored 2 GB of software. It may be possible to copy long paths using Teracopy, but the last time I moved a long path, I used 7zip and just stored files in the folder with zero percent compressing into a 7zip file , then copied the whole 7zip file to the drive I wanted and unzip it. Worked for me.

  4. Will using long path tool solve copy and paste issues on the fly? for example, if my copy and paste has 900 paths too long, do I need to manually find them and copy them with long path tool, or is it fixed on the fly?

  5. If you fell any problem to do copy,paste,error Deleting File or Folder.Then you should use Long Path Tool to solve your problem.
    If Long Path Tool fails on start up, please ensure you have .net framework installed on your PC.

  6. Seriously? I can’t move a huge 500GB folder that contains years worth of data because the path names are to long? Seriously MS? What a piece of shit operating system. Who the hell would make an OS that allows you to create the paths in the first place. Have apps that now require those EXACT pathnames. Then disallow you from moving the folder because you stuck an arbitrary fixed pathname length in ancient versions of you OS (or should I say your VIRUS that you call an OS)? You created this ridiculous problem why the hell not gives us a free solution to it? I refuse to PAY for a third party application to do something that any stable reliable modern OS should be capable of doing!!!!!!

    1. In 2020, There is a tool that we use that can handle long pathnames problem called gs richcopy 360, it was the best choice for us in such a case

  7. I used to have similar problems too, but after using “long path tool” everything was solved. Try this software and you would be glad you did.

  8. I am getting this same issue, i guess the best thing to do is to use a
    third party app like Long Path Tool. Just download it and use it to
    solve this issue. I hope this would help.

  9. Just use RoboCopy, that’s what we use. Free, works great. I use the GUI, but you can just use it at the command line as well.

  10. Alternatively, you can use GS Richcopy 360, it also works for such problems. It supports long path names and fully copies and moves files and folders exceeding 260 characters in length. I have been using it since one year ,and it is one of the best copying software I have ever come across.

  11. Some of you here are saying try long path tool but why to try something dedicated to just one problem. It does not solve slow transfer rate nor will provide you email notification when your transfer/backup is done. I would suggest to try GS Richcopy 360. It worked for me and for my enterprise. Give it a try!

  12. I use GS RichCopy360. It supports long file names and also can copy locked/open files with ease. Though it’s not cheap, it is a great tool for copying files from one machine to another or to different directives on the same machine.

  13. This is one of the most embarrassing issues in windows. Th most important app in windows, explorer, still doesn’t supports long paths.

    I’ve been using linux for the past 12 years and a few months ago I said let’s give windows 10 a try. All these years, I’ve got more than 14TB of files and a lot of them were inaccessible because of this.

    These “solutions” are not real solutions but workarounds. If it happens to be a developer and Linux user with countless files like me then good luck with those “solutions”.

    In 2018, you still pay hundreds of bucks for an OS that wants to be compatible with 90s.

    Windows is defective by design.

    Anyway, this article is the most accurate I’ve found on the web for this issue!

  14. thanks a lot bro, I had to many problems with migrations and personal files and now i have to say a big THANK YOU!!!!

  15. Modifying “LongPathsEnabled” in the Registry Editor did not work. I changed the Value Data to 1 from 0 and clicked OK. I restarted, double checked that it remained at 1 and then copied one of the folders to the same destination. I still got the same “Destination Path Too Long” dialogue. Is it because I am copying this to an external HD and that this function doesn’t apply to the drive?

    I have 2.9 TB of files I need to copy to a drive and there are about 100 folders that won’t copy unless I manually search for them and change the directory to each one. I don’t understand why we have to pay $39 for a tool to accomplish this simple task. This is why so many people would rather spend extra money to get a Mac. That extra money gets recovered because there’s a lot less non-billable time spent and less IT support is required.

  16. Hi there;

    Hmmm, been trying this ”fixes” but it really doesn’t work for Dj’s that have Gigabytes of files (mp3, wav etc).
    Does anybody knows something much more ”easy, quicker”???

    Thank you kindly for your time;0

    Marlon

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