Cannot copy file name is to long?

By ynotbme
Feb 14, 2012
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  1. I am trying to get files copied from an external HD on to a new computer. It is running XP Pro 32. The copies are from a XP Pro 32. I get a box that says the file name is to long to copy file! Please tell me there is a setting or something. He has thousands of unorganized files. This thing stops cold. No matter what I do I have got to start copy process over every time it stops for the 1 file!
    Please don't tell me I have to write the file name down each time, shorten the name and restart the copy process everytime!

    HELP! Ynot
  2. ynotbme

    ynotbme Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 26

    I figured it out!

    OK, OK, If ever in this situation...try what I did. I copied from the external HD to the desktop. Then I moved the files into My Documents or where ever. For some reason that worked. I did have to rename one file but not 100,s or 1000,s!

    Good Luck, Ynot
  3. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,336   +293

    Good work. What you discovered is that the list of directorty names to reach that file + the length of the file name was too big.
    By relocating to My Documents, you cut the 'path name length' significantly.
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,336   +293

    There are several answers, so check the WiKi. The 257 is a good value for most of us.

    get a command prompt
    CD to the source file location and then:
    • Moving filename_too_long to %profile%,
    • then renaming it to a shorter file_name and then
    • moving back to the original folder
    will work 99% of the time - - just do them one at a time.
  5. ComputerGuy55

    ComputerGuy55 TechSpot Maniac Posts: 530

    Another way you can move a group of files without renaming a bunch of files is to put them into a zip file.. Just create a Zip file and throw them all in.. Move that zip to the new computer and extract.
    ravisunny2 likes this.
  6. ravisunny2

    ravisunny2 TS Ambassador Posts: 2,057   +8

    Wow! Great idea!
  7. Row1

    Row1 TechSpot Maniac Posts: 355   +8

    I may have posted about this a few years ago. You can use another file management program. The problem is that Windows does not handle a file if the total number of characters in the folder and subfolders plus the actual file name get to be over some limit.
    I have worked around this by using a java-based file management program. I can't remember which one, but you just search for a file manager program. Load it on the computer or computers of interest.

    In the long term, the solution is to have folder arrangement be more flat, and to not use long file names - don't save a webpage as a file on your computer just by hitting 'save' since webpages often have many characters in their name.
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