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Folder hierarchy and file naming rules

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

Context
I am trying to transfer My Documents to a new Windows machine. The older
machine is running Windows XP Professional. The new machine is running
Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2.

I would like to retain the current folder hierarchy and file names, but I am
having problems when trying to burn the My Documents folder to CD to transfer
it to the new machine. I receive error messages indicating file names are
too long. I also seem to lose files from some folders that have deep
hierarchies.

Questions
What is the limit on depth of folder hierarchy?
What is the limit on number of characters in file names?
If I have exceeded these limits, do I have to manually change the folder
hiearchy and the file names? Is there an easier way?

Other suggestions welcome
I welcome any other suggestions about how to transfer all of My Documents to
the new machine, while also retaining the folder hierarchy and the file names
used on the old machine.
6 answers Last reply
More about folder hierarchy file naming rules
  1. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    Accessories > System Tools > Files and Settings Transfer Wizard may do what
    you want.

    "Kevin" <Kevin@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message
    news:6A43C649-8185-4F7B-BE24-910FEE6F8617@microsoft.com...
    > Context
    > I am trying to transfer My Documents to a new Windows machine. The older
    > machine is running Windows XP Professional. The new machine is running
    > Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2.
    >
    > I would like to retain the current folder hierarchy and file names, but I
    > am
    > having problems when trying to burn the My Documents folder to CD to
    > transfer
    > it to the new machine. I receive error messages indicating file names are
    > too long. I also seem to lose files from some folders that have deep
    > hierarchies.
    >
    > Questions
    > What is the limit on depth of folder hierarchy?
    > What is the limit on number of characters in file names?
    > If I have exceeded these limits, do I have to manually change the folder
    > hiearchy and the file names? Is there an easier way?
    >
    > Other suggestions welcome
    > I welcome any other suggestions about how to transfer all of My Documents
    > to
    > the new machine, while also retaining the folder hierarchy and the file
    > names
    > used on the old machine.
    >
    >
    >
  2. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    The limit here is probably your CD writing software. Are you using InCD?
    Some versions of InCD seem to use 8.3 Names and a more limited path/name
    character total.

    > What is the limit on depth of folder hierarchy?

    The path can only have 260 characters. A path is structured as follows:
    drive letter, colon, backslash, components separated by backslashes, and a
    null-terminating character. For example, the maximum path on the D drive is
    D:\<256 chars>NUL.

    > What is the limit on number of characters in file names?

    File names in XP can have up to 255 characters.


    [[This problem may occur if the system PATH environment variable is longer
    than 1024 characters when the program is installed. The system PATH
    environment variable is limited to 1023 characters, plus the terminating
    null character, for a total of 1024 characters. When you start the program,
    the path is truncated to 1024 characters, and this truncated version is then
    written back to the registry.]]
    Windows XP cannot find a program's executable files or DLL files
    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;832978

    cmd.exe has a max_path length setting or 256 characters.

    [SYMPTOMS
    The DELETE or RENAME functions of the Cmd.exe utility may stop functioning
    correctly if a path or file name exceeds either the max_path length setting
    or 256 characters on the NTFS file system partitions.

    On drive X with a subfolder or file name that exceeds the max_path setting
    or 256 characters, an attempt to delete or rename the file or files may
    generate an error message, such as "There are no more files" or "File not
    found."

    CAUSE
    This problem occurs because Cmd.exe imposes a 256 character limit. NTFS does
    not have this type of limit on file name length or total path length. The
    character limit also applies when you use Cmd.exe on FAT partitions. ]]
    Cmd.exe Errors When the Path or File Name Exceeds the Max_Path Setting or
    256 Characters
    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;205345

    [[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. ]]
    Path Too Long Error Message When Exceeding MAX_PATH
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/177665/EN-US/

    [[This problem can occur if the path to the file or folder is longer than
    the file system can accommodate. For example, this problem may occur if you
    connect a drive to a share and then create a path over 255 characters to the
    share. ]]
    Cannot Access Folder Because the Path Is Too Long or Deep
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/180410/EN-US/

    [[Poledit.exe uses a global variable named MAX_PATH. Poledit.exe is limited
    to a 256-character string because of the MAX_PATH variable. When the path is
    longer than 256 characters, the MAX_PATH value exceeds its limit and
    overruns its memory allocation, causing the error message.]]
    Error Messages Adding .adm File with Long Path in System Policy Editor
    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;227864

    [[This problem occurs if you had files that were stored in a folder
    structure that exceeded MAX_PATH (256 characters) before you upgraded to
    Windows XP. ]]
    Missing Data or Program Settings After You Upgrade to Windows XP
    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;314931

    [[Cause 4: Files exist in paths that are deeper than MAX_PATH characters
    You may not be able to open a file if there are issues with the file path.
    Resolution 1: Use an auto-generated 8.3 name to access the file
    To resolve this issue, you may want to use the auto-generated 8.3 name to
    access the file. This resolution may be the easiest resolution if the path
    is deep because the folder names are too long. If the 8.3 path is also too
    long or if 8.3 names have been disabled on the volume, go to Resolution 2.

    For additional information about disabling 8.3 file names on NTFS volumes,
    click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft
    Knowledge Base:
    121007 How to disable the 8.3 name creation on NTFS partitions
    Resolution 2: Rename or move a deep folder
    To resolve this issue, rename the folder so that the target files that are
    deeper than the MAX_PATH no longer exist. If you do this, start at the root
    folder (or any other convenient place), and then rename folders so that they
    have shorter names. If this step does not resolve this issue (for example,
    if a file is more than 128 folders deep), go to Resolution 3. ]]
    You cannot delete a file or a folder on an NTFS file system volume
    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;320081

    --
    Hope this helps. Let us know.

    Wes
    MS-MVP Windows Shell/User

    In news:6A43C649-8185-4F7B-BE24-910FEE6F8617@microsoft.com,
    Kevin <Kevin@discussions.microsoft.com> hunted and pecked:
    > Context
    > I am trying to transfer My Documents to a new Windows machine. The older
    > machine is running Windows XP Professional. The new machine is running
    > Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2.
    >
    > I would like to retain the current folder hierarchy and file names, but I
    > am having problems when trying to burn the My Documents folder to CD to
    > transfer it to the new machine. I receive error messages indicating file
    > names are too long. I also seem to lose files from some folders that
    > have deep hierarchies.
    >
    > Questions
    > What is the limit on depth of folder hierarchy?
    > What is the limit on number of characters in file names?
    > If I have exceeded these limits, do I have to manually change the folder
    > hiearchy and the file names? Is there an easier way?
    >
    > Other suggestions welcome
    > I welcome any other suggestions about how to transfer all of My Documents
    > to the new machine, while also retaining the folder hierarchy and the
    > file names used on the old machine.
  3. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    This information helped me understand folder and file naming conventions. In
    the end, I changed the folder structure on the new machine to stay within the
    path limits. It seemed like the easiest solution. Thanks for the help.

    "Wesley Vogel" wrote:

    > The limit here is probably your CD writing software. Are you using InCD?
    > Some versions of InCD seem to use 8.3 Names and a more limited path/name
    > character total.
    >
    > > What is the limit on depth of folder hierarchy?
    >
    > The path can only have 260 characters. A path is structured as follows:
    > drive letter, colon, backslash, components separated by backslashes, and a
    > null-terminating character. For example, the maximum path on the D drive is
    > D:\<256 chars>NUL.
    >
    > > What is the limit on number of characters in file names?
    >
    > File names in XP can have up to 255 characters.
    >
    >
    > [[This problem may occur if the system PATH environment variable is longer
    > than 1024 characters when the program is installed. The system PATH
    > environment variable is limited to 1023 characters, plus the terminating
    > null character, for a total of 1024 characters. When you start the program,
    > the path is truncated to 1024 characters, and this truncated version is then
    > written back to the registry.]]
    > Windows XP cannot find a program's executable files or DLL files
    > http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;832978
    >
    > cmd.exe has a max_path length setting or 256 characters.
    >
    > [SYMPTOMS
    > The DELETE or RENAME functions of the Cmd.exe utility may stop functioning
    > correctly if a path or file name exceeds either the max_path length setting
    > or 256 characters on the NTFS file system partitions.
    >
    > On drive X with a subfolder or file name that exceeds the max_path setting
    > or 256 characters, an attempt to delete or rename the file or files may
    > generate an error message, such as "There are no more files" or "File not
    > found."
    >
    > CAUSE
    > This problem occurs because Cmd.exe imposes a 256 character limit. NTFS does
    > not have this type of limit on file name length or total path length. The
    > character limit also applies when you use Cmd.exe on FAT partitions. ]]
    > Cmd.exe Errors When the Path or File Name Exceeds the Max_Path Setting or
    > 256 Characters
    > http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;205345
    >
    > [[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. ]]
    > Path Too Long Error Message When Exceeding MAX_PATH
    > http://support.microsoft.com/kb/177665/EN-US/
    >
    > [[This problem can occur if the path to the file or folder is longer than
    > the file system can accommodate. For example, this problem may occur if you
    > connect a drive to a share and then create a path over 255 characters to the
    > share. ]]
    > Cannot Access Folder Because the Path Is Too Long or Deep
    > http://support.microsoft.com/kb/180410/EN-US/
    >
    > [[Poledit.exe uses a global variable named MAX_PATH. Poledit.exe is limited
    > to a 256-character string because of the MAX_PATH variable. When the path is
    > longer than 256 characters, the MAX_PATH value exceeds its limit and
    > overruns its memory allocation, causing the error message.]]
    > Error Messages Adding .adm File with Long Path in System Policy Editor
    > http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;227864
    >
    > [[This problem occurs if you had files that were stored in a folder
    > structure that exceeded MAX_PATH (256 characters) before you upgraded to
    > Windows XP. ]]
    > Missing Data or Program Settings After You Upgrade to Windows XP
    > http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;314931
    >
    > [[Cause 4: Files exist in paths that are deeper than MAX_PATH characters
    > You may not be able to open a file if there are issues with the file path.
    > Resolution 1: Use an auto-generated 8.3 name to access the file
    > To resolve this issue, you may want to use the auto-generated 8.3 name to
    > access the file. This resolution may be the easiest resolution if the path
    > is deep because the folder names are too long. If the 8.3 path is also too
    > long or if 8.3 names have been disabled on the volume, go to Resolution 2.
    >
    > For additional information about disabling 8.3 file names on NTFS volumes,
    > click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft
    > Knowledge Base:
    > 121007 How to disable the 8.3 name creation on NTFS partitions
    > Resolution 2: Rename or move a deep folder
    > To resolve this issue, rename the folder so that the target files that are
    > deeper than the MAX_PATH no longer exist. If you do this, start at the root
    > folder (or any other convenient place), and then rename folders so that they
    > have shorter names. If this step does not resolve this issue (for example,
    > if a file is more than 128 folders deep), go to Resolution 3. ]]
    > You cannot delete a file or a folder on an NTFS file system volume
    > http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;320081
    >
    > --
    > Hope this helps. Let us know.
    >
    > Wes
    > MS-MVP Windows Shell/User
    >
    > In news:6A43C649-8185-4F7B-BE24-910FEE6F8617@microsoft.com,
    > Kevin <Kevin@discussions.microsoft.com> hunted and pecked:
    > > Context
    > > I am trying to transfer My Documents to a new Windows machine. The older
    > > machine is running Windows XP Professional. The new machine is running
    > > Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2.
    > >
    > > I would like to retain the current folder hierarchy and file names, but I
    > > am having problems when trying to burn the My Documents folder to CD to
    > > transfer it to the new machine. I receive error messages indicating file
    > > names are too long. I also seem to lose files from some folders that
    > > have deep hierarchies.
    > >
    > > Questions
    > > What is the limit on depth of folder hierarchy?
    > > What is the limit on number of characters in file names?
    > > If I have exceeded these limits, do I have to manually change the folder
    > > hiearchy and the file names? Is there an easier way?
    > >
    > > Other suggestions welcome
    > > I welcome any other suggestions about how to transfer all of My Documents
    > > to the new machine, while also retaining the folder hierarchy and the
    > > file names used on the old machine.
    >
    >
  4. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    Keep having fun. :-)

    --
    Hope this helps. Let us know.

    Wes
    MS-MVP Windows Shell/User

    In news:B4072E4D-97C8-45C8-9092-C635C1A4F371@microsoft.com,
    Kevin <Kevin@discussions.microsoft.com> hunted and pecked:
    > This information helped me understand folder and file naming conventions.
    > In the end, I changed the folder structure on the new machine to stay
    > within the path limits. It seemed like the easiest solution. Thanks for
    > the help.
    >
    > "Wesley Vogel" wrote:
    >
    >> The limit here is probably your CD writing software. Are you using InCD?
    >> Some versions of InCD seem to use 8.3 Names and a more limited path/name
    >> character total.
    >>
    >>> What is the limit on depth of folder hierarchy?
    >>
    >> The path can only have 260 characters. A path is structured as follows:
    >> drive letter, colon, backslash, components separated by backslashes, and
    >> a null-terminating character. For example, the maximum path on the D
    >> drive is D:\<256 chars>NUL.
    >>
    >>> What is the limit on number of characters in file names?
    >>
    >> File names in XP can have up to 255 characters.
    >>
    >>
    >> [[This problem may occur if the system PATH environment variable is
    >> longer than 1024 characters when the program is installed. The system
    >> PATH environment variable is limited to 1023 characters, plus the
    >> terminating null character, for a total of 1024 characters. When you
    >> start the program, the path is truncated to 1024 characters, and this
    >> truncated version is then written back to the registry.]]
    >> Windows XP cannot find a program's executable files or DLL files
    >> http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;832978
    >>
    >> cmd.exe has a max_path length setting or 256 characters.
    >>
    >> [SYMPTOMS
    >> The DELETE or RENAME functions of the Cmd.exe utility may stop
    >> functioning correctly if a path or file name exceeds either the max_path
    >> length setting or 256 characters on the NTFS file system partitions.
    >>
    >> On drive X with a subfolder or file name that exceeds the max_path
    >> setting or 256 characters, an attempt to delete or rename the file or
    >> files may generate an error message, such as "There are no more files"
    >> or "File not found."
    >>
    >> CAUSE
    >> This problem occurs because Cmd.exe imposes a 256 character limit. NTFS
    >> does not have this type of limit on file name length or total path
    >> length. The character limit also applies when you use Cmd.exe on FAT
    >> partitions. ]] Cmd.exe Errors When the Path or File Name Exceeds the
    >> Max_Path Setting or 256 Characters
    >> http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;205345
    >>
    >> [[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. ]] Path Too Long Error Message When Exceeding
    >> MAX_PATH http://support.microsoft.com/kb/177665/EN-US/
    >>
    >> [[This problem can occur if the path to the file or folder is longer than
    >> the file system can accommodate. For example, this problem may occur if
    >> you connect a drive to a share and then create a path over 255
    >> characters to the share. ]]
    >> Cannot Access Folder Because the Path Is Too Long or Deep
    >> http://support.microsoft.com/kb/180410/EN-US/
    >>
    >> [[Poledit.exe uses a global variable named MAX_PATH. Poledit.exe is
    >> limited to a 256-character string because of the MAX_PATH variable. When
    >> the path is longer than 256 characters, the MAX_PATH value exceeds its
    >> limit and overruns its memory allocation, causing the error message.]]
    >> Error Messages Adding .adm File with Long Path in System Policy Editor
    >> http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;227864
    >>
    >> [[This problem occurs if you had files that were stored in a folder
    >> structure that exceeded MAX_PATH (256 characters) before you upgraded to
    >> Windows XP. ]]
    >> Missing Data or Program Settings After You Upgrade to Windows XP
    >> http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;314931
    >>
    >> [[Cause 4: Files exist in paths that are deeper than MAX_PATH characters
    >> You may not be able to open a file if there are issues with the file
    >> path. Resolution 1: Use an auto-generated 8.3 name to access the file
    >> To resolve this issue, you may want to use the auto-generated 8.3 name to
    >> access the file. This resolution may be the easiest resolution if the
    >> path is deep because the folder names are too long. If the 8.3 path is
    >> also too long or if 8.3 names have been disabled on the volume, go to
    >> Resolution 2.
    >>
    >> For additional information about disabling 8.3 file names on NTFS
    >> volumes, click the following article number to view the article in the
    >> Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    >> 121007 How to disable the 8.3 name creation on NTFS partitions
    >> Resolution 2: Rename or move a deep folder
    >> To resolve this issue, rename the folder so that the target files that
    >> are deeper than the MAX_PATH no longer exist. If you do this, start at
    >> the root folder (or any other convenient place), and then rename folders
    >> so that they have shorter names. If this step does not resolve this
    >> issue (for example, if a file is more than 128 folders deep), go to
    >> Resolution 3. ]]
    >> You cannot delete a file or a folder on an NTFS file system volume
    >> http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;320081
    >>
    >> --
    >> Hope this helps. Let us know.
    >>
    >> Wes
    >> MS-MVP Windows Shell/User
    >>
    >> In news:6A43C649-8185-4F7B-BE24-910FEE6F8617@microsoft.com,
    >> Kevin <Kevin@discussions.microsoft.com> hunted and pecked:
    >>> Context
    >>> I am trying to transfer My Documents to a new Windows machine. The
    >>> older machine is running Windows XP Professional. The new machine is
    >>> running Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2.
    >>>
    >>> I would like to retain the current folder hierarchy and file names, but
    >>> I am having problems when trying to burn the My Documents folder to CD
    >>> to transfer it to the new machine. I receive error messages indicating
    >>> file names are too long. I also seem to lose files from some folders
    >>> that have deep hierarchies.
    >>>
    >>> Questions
    >>> What is the limit on depth of folder hierarchy?
    >>> What is the limit on number of characters in file names?
    >>> If I have exceeded these limits, do I have to manually change the folder
    >>> hiearchy and the file names? Is there an easier way?
    >>>
    >>> Other suggestions welcome
    >>> I welcome any other suggestions about how to transfer all of My
    >>> Documents to the new machine, while also retaining the folder hierarchy
    >>> and the file names used on the old machine.
  5. I had the same problem. And www.pathtoolongtool.com helped me.
  6. This topic has been closed by Buwish
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