Path too long error message when exceeding MAX_PATH

Article translations Article translations
Article ID: 177665 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q177665
Expand all | Collapse all

SYMPTOMS

Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0 clients can expand a server directory structure beyond MAX_PATH (256 characters) by accessing a server share and creating directories and files through the network.

As a result, a server running Windows NT 4.0 returns the following error message if the server administrator tries to access these files or directories locally on the server through Windows NT Explorer:
Can't access this folder.
Path is too long.
If you attempt to create a new folder, you may receive the following error message:
Unable to create the folder '<name>'.
The filename or extension is too long.
A server running Windows NT 3.51 shows unexpected results in File Manager such as a general protection fault (GP fault), WINFILE crash, or display of nonexistent directories.

Several tools and programs may also show problems when working with this directory structure that exceeds MAX_PATH.

CAUSE

Win32 programs are limited to a 256-character string size limit because of the MAX_PATH variable. Software programs can work around this problem by passing Win32 a path that is MAX_PATH or less. The real underlying path can then be accessed independently of the real length of the path. In this way, a program can access files or directories beyond MAX_PATH on the server.

RESOLUTION

To resolve problems when the directory structure exceeds MAX_PATH, use either of the following methods:
  • On the server that contains the long directory structure, access these files and folders through a local redirection ("net use" or "subst") of the same share/folder that the network clients access across the network.
  • In Windows NT Explorer, select the folder one level above the folder that returns the error. Right-click the folder returning the error and then click Rename. Rename the folder to reduce the number of characters used in the folder name.

MORE INFORMATION

The problem described above could not be reproduced with NTBACKUP and files and directories that were beyond the MAX_PATH limit could be backed up and restored successfully.

Properties

Article ID: 177665 - Last Review: October 31, 2006 - Revision: 1.3
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
  • Microsoft Windows Advanced Server, Limited Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Datacenter Server Limited Edition
  • Windows Vista Home Basic 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Business 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition (32-Bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition (32-Bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition for Itanium-Based Systems
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition for Itanium-based Systems
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Premium Edition
Keywords: 
kberrmsg kbnofix kbprb kbui KB177665

Give Feedback

 

Contact us for more help

Contact us for more help
Connect with Answer Desk for expert help.
Get more support from smallbusiness.support.microsoft.com