Deleting Folders With ‘Long Filenames’ (Source Path Too Long)

KB ID 0001396

Problem

Source Path Too Long

Source Path Too Long
The source file name(s) are larger than is supported by the file system. Try moving to a location which has a shorter path name, or try renaming to shorter name(s) before attempting this operation.

“Have you come across a problem deleting folders with long filenames?” I got asked this question twice in the first week at a new job. In a former role my colleague did a lot of work in schools and was forever coming across this problem when doing file migrations.

As it transpired this was a problem at, yes you’ve guessed it a school that was a client. The little darlings had got hold of a script that recursively created nested folders, and as obviously this is hilarious it had happened multiple times.

I didn’t have a solution of the top of my head, but I thought I’d try and recreate the problem, and see if there was a simple solution.

Solution

The most difficult part was replicating the script. Windows is pretty good at protecting itself. But thanks to the good folk at Experts-Exchange’s assistance, I was good to go, attempting to move or delete the file generated the error you see above.

Method One: Use Robocopy

Robocopy has been built into windows for a while, you can use it with the /MIR flag to remove all your subfolders.

MD C:\DELETE-ME
robocopy C:\DELETE-ME C:\{path}\{The Top Level Folder To Delete} /s /mir

Cannot delete path too long

Then you can simply delete the two remaining empty folders

rd C:\DELETE-ME
rd C:\{path}\{The Top Level Folder To Delete}

Delete Long File Path

Method Two: Use a GUI Tool

I’m always suspicious of third party tools, and if you Google this problem two pieces of software will jump out, one’s brilliant does not have any spamware or malware in it, the other one’s, well not free and annoying.

The Good

Delete Long File Path GUI

DeleteLongPath by BackupChain simple and does exactly what you expect. Take some time to look a their backup software as well!

The Bad

Message boards are spammed with people saying how great this piece of software is, probably by the clowns who make it! Long Path Tool, they just want your money don’t bother.

Dont Buy Long Path Tool

 

Related Articles, References, Credits, or External Links

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Author: PeteLong

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