Take the 2-minute tour ×
Server Fault is a question and answer site for professional system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

One of our customers habitually use very long path names (several nested folders, with long names) and we routinely encounter "user education issues" in order to shorten the path to less than 260 characters.

Is there a technical solution available, can we flick some sort of switch in Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 to say "yeah just ignore these historical problems, and make +260 character path name work".

P.S. I have read and been totally unedified by Naming Files, Paths, and Namespaces

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The methods are there, but until Microsoft re-codes the file-browser widget we're pretty much stuck with that old problem. It's sub-optimal, but that's just how it works.

share|improve this answer
Bug in MS software that has been unfixed for few OS releases, that's a new one... –  Hubert Kario Nov 24 '11 at 0:01

You can get around this limitation by using the \\?\C: notation. It's ugly, but it supports file lengths up to 2^15.


share|improve this answer
Yeah I read that, as I said (see my link). But how do I benefit from it exactly? Can I map a drive to \\?\something for example. I don't understand. The article is intended for programmers using windows APIs. Whilst I do code in .NET as the need arises I don't use C++ etc. and can't see how this is relevant for my customers staff who are using windows explorer and the common file dialog etc. –  Christopher Edwards Feb 9 '11 at 0:08
Ultimately, there is none. :-/ Sadly. –  darthcoder Feb 9 '11 at 3:35
@ChristopherEdwards You can create junctions to points lower in folder hierarchy. –  Hubert Kario Nov 23 '11 at 23:59
@HubertKario Yes, but how would that help me? –  Christopher Edwards Nov 28 '11 at 23:58
@ChristopherEdwards you could do a link c:\usr-data to `c:\Users\VeryLongUserName\LongFolderName` and tell him to use the former, but if he regularly names folders in 40-something characters then this won't help... –  Hubert Kario Nov 29 '11 at 20:50

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.