windows-server-2008-r2

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 because 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 2012.

This is not the limitation of NTFS file system, but the Win32 API library. Most standard applications, including Windows Explorer (File Explorer), do not work correctly with such long file names. Under the file name Windows understands the entire path, starting with the root of the disk, 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 difficulties, the path length to which exceeds 256 characters.

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.”

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Screenshot of Destination Path Too Long error on Windows Server 2008

destination path too long

Screenshot of Destination Path Too Long error on Windows 8:

destination path too long windows 8

Solution 1. Rename parent folder to decrease 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 link you can use the following command:

mklink /d c:\home\link “C:\verylongpathhere……”

Next, perform file operations with the directory to which the symbolic link is assigned (c:\home\link 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 limit. After the work is finished, you can delete the virtual disk:

Subst Z: /d

Solution 4. Hidden share path

Step 1

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

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

destination path too long 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.

destination path too long map network

Step 3

Then simply paste your long path and hit Finish.

destination path too long network 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 system level. By default, this feature is disabled.

To enable the built-in support for long paths, you can use the Regedit.exe editor to set the LongPathsEnabled parameter of REG_DWORD in the HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem key with a value 1.

destination path too long paths enabled

Or through Group Policy Editor (Win + R \ gpedit.msc) Computer Configuration-> Administrative Templates->System-> Filesystem. Enable the policy Enable NTFS long paths.

enable NTFS long paths

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 limit of 32767 characters.

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Tip #1

There also is a great tool called “Long Path Tool” that works great to fix this: https://longpathtool.com/ However it isn’t free, the method above is.

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.


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  • Frank Zabelli

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

    • 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!

      • Frank Zabelli

        Sorry I did not see, I wanted to help, I found for free.

        • No problem 🙂 We are always happy to see people reading our articles and taking the time to comment.

  • Colin Albright

    You can fix this problem easily with 7-Zip.. :-), give it a try… Easy as pie to rename the file…

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • Thanks for your comment. We actually did include that at the bottom of the post. It is a great tool!

  • Neng Silvi

    Long path tool is the
    best solution for your problem. try it and solve your problem.

    • Thanks for your comment. We did include that at the bottom of the post. It is a great tool!

  • BackupChain

    There’s another freeware option called DeleteLongPath, please add above thank you!

    http://backupchain.com/DeleteLongPath.html

  • Terri Smith

    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

    • rick

      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????

      • Net Verse

        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.

  • johnn

    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?

  • lewisz

    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.

  • rick

    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!!!!!!

  • raymono

    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.

  • Zippydsmlee

    Tera copy just copies/moves whatever with no issue….

  • eden

    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.

  • Preeto Kaur

    It says we have to purchase the app 🙁

  • Michael

    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. https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2006.11.utilityspotlight

  • boki_

    There’s a bit newer “Robocopy GUI” tool on technet:
    https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2009.04.utilityspotlight

  • bonnie1202

    I use the Long Path Tool too 🙂 Works great!

  • shubham kumar

    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.

  • Joël Bajay

    Thanks a mil… solution 4 worked for me! need it urgently

  • Corey lean

    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!