Backups - 'file name too long' ??

  • cerio
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I can't find this in a search here, so hoping I'm not repeating a question.

When I back up a folder containing thousands of files, I always end up with over a thousand that don't copy from my laptop to my WD external hard drive because I get a message saying 'file name too long'. Since I managed to save the files in the first place with those names with no problem, why are they suddenly considered too big to copy to a back up and is there any way around this because I can't spend forever finding over 1000 files so that I can shorten the names just for the back up?

It has me perplexed and I worry not having all the all files are backed up, as all are essential. There is plenty of room on the external hard drive, so it's not anything to do with a shortage of space. I want to reformat my laptop but I need to have a backup of every file, so I am stuck.

I am copying from a 1.5 year old Dell Studio 1737 laptop with Vista OS.

Cerio
  • Don2007
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Post 3+ Months Ago

When Windows first appeared, file names were supposed to be limited to 8 characters. If a file name was longer, DOS would truncate it to the 8 characters. Let's say I'm in the root directory, which is \ & I want to change to the "documents & settings" directory at a command prompt. I can put it in quotes or I can do the following:

C:\>cd docume~1

C:\DOCUME~1>

That's how DOS used to truncate it & it still works. Even when I name a file these days, I stick to that limit although it's not necessary anymore. I'm not sure if it's NTFS that eliminated the character limit but that could be the answer. Is your external drive formatted as NTFS?
  • cerio
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Post 3+ Months Ago

oh dear, that's a little over my head.

It isn't truncating the file names, it's refusing to copy them at all.

The external hard drive is formatted as NTFS

I couldn't work out if your reply was giving me a solution to it that would allow me to copy the files to the external hard drive.
If it was instruction, would you explain in very simple terms for me, please, step by step?
I am not great at using the command prompt and really not at all familiar with it, so I need it in very simple layman's terms.

As it is over 1000 files it balks at, amongst thousands, it would be a virtually impossible task to find each one to change them individually via the command prompt or otherwise. I need a way to either override the file name length problem so they copy unchanged or a way for it to find all ones that are too long and change them all without me having to find each one.
Sadly, when it says the names are two long, it only gives me the options to skip those files or to cancel the copying entirely, it doesn't list all the files or give me the option of changing them, it just tells me the first one and that there are 1000 odd in total that are too long.
  • Don2007
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I found a vb script to truncate the file names but if you aren't good with a command prompt, I doubt you'll get the script to work.

Instead, maybe there is something on the following site.

http://www.snapfiles.com/Freeware/syste ... ename.html
  • cerio
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thank you for that, Don2007. I have bookmarked that page of downloads, I think I may need it.

However, I am still hoping I might find a solution that does not require me to change any file names at all. Since I had no problem saving the files with the longish, descriptive names, I really ought to be able to copy them to another hard drive with exactly the same names.

I really don't want them all truncated if I can help it. I may have to give in, in time, and truncate them but I'll hang off briefly in the hope that thee is another solution that lets me copy with their current names.
  • Don2007
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Contact WD.
  • cerio
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I at least know now why I managed to save the files with long names, even though I can't copy them. I tried again and the dialogue box says 'The file name(s) would be too long for the destination folder. You can shorten the file name and try again, or try a location that has a shorter path', so it would appear that the long file names are making the path too long.
Of course, I have no idea how to shorten the path but at least I realise it is not the file names themselves that are the problem, it is the fact that they lengthen the path too much.

Initially I was puzzled that, if the names were too long, it had let me save the files with such long names in the first place. Thankfully I have long since stopped using such long descriptive names but I still need to keep those old files (about 1200 mixed in among about 88 thousand).

Now, if I can just work out how to shorten the path...

Cerio
  • Don2007
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Post 3+ Months Ago

That's easy. Send everything to the root directory.

Let's say your files are in my documents on the Vista box & the external drive is G:

Open a command prompt & run


cd docume~1\cerio\mydocu~1

Then run copy *.* g:\

Compare the two paths:

c:\docume~1\cerio\mydocu~1

g:\

Which one is shorter? It's a no brainer.
  • johnylog
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Post 3+ Months Ago

A very common problem with Windows explorer is reported on all Windows help forums. I've

seen people complaining about problem with long path files deletion.

Some common problems with Windows Explorer people talk about:

- Doesn't allow to delete files with long path names
- Pops up error while deleting unwanted files or unnecessary files
- Errors like: Access denied, sharing violation, source in use etc.

I've found a very simple but smart solution for all these above mentioned common problems.

A very simple but powerful tool to overcome these problems. Everyone who plays with the

files must have this tool. Its compatible with all versions of Microsoft Windows.

Download it at here:
deletelongfile dot com
  • webguru2
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hi there, I zipped the folder if I encounter such problem, and I copy the zipped file over to the new location. Therefore at least you can back it up first. Then when you unzip it, the files with long path names will not be created but software such as Winzip or WinRAR will give you an error report for the file folders that cannot be re-created, then you can follow the log file and shorten the folder's name and pull them out of the zip folder.

It seems this is an easier way to solve this problem, expecially to those who does not have programing background.

WebG


cerio wrote:
I can't find this in a search here, so hoping I'm not repeating a question.

When I back up a folder containing thousands of files, I always end up with over a thousand that don't copy from my laptop to my WD external hard drive because I get a message saying 'file name too long'. Since I managed to save the files in the first place with those names with no problem, why are they suddenly considered too big to copy to a back up and is there any way around this because I can't spend forever finding over 1000 files so that I can shorten the names just for the back up?

It has me perplexed and I worry not having all the all files are backed up, as all are essential. There is plenty of room on the external hard drive, so it's not anything to do with a shortage of space. I want to reformat my laptop but I need to have a backup of every file, so I am stuck.

I am copying from a 1.5 year old Dell Studio 1737 laptop with Vista OS.

Cerio

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