The entire 'path' is included in the allowable length of a document's filename When you attempt to access files contained

in folders that have very long folder names, you may receive one of the following error messages: "Filename is not valid." accessed."

Windows 256-Character Filename Limitation

"The file could not be

"The path you entered is too long. Enter a shorter path." "File Name could not be found. Check the spelling of the filename, and verify that the file location is correct." CAUSE This behavior occurs because Windows has a limitation of 256 characters for paths. A 'path' includes every character from the beginning of the address to the last character in the filename. For example, the following document's path includes 245 characters: EXAMPLE 1 C:\Documents and Settings\doblak\My Documents\Budget Proposals for 2004 (NOT YET APPROVED)\JoAnn's spreadsheets from the Planning Committee meetings on July 12\Rough Draft with Notes 7-12-1999\Photo from the holiday party in December of 1999.bmp …thus, attempting to lengthen this filename (or any of the directories in front of it) with just ten characters may yield one of the above error messages. IMPACT Filenames with paths that exceed the 256-character limit may exhibit any one or several of the following symptoms: 1) Document will not open 2) Filename cannot be changed 3) Document cannot be moved or deleted 4) Document is not visible in a directory listing ('window'), and appears to be missing WORKAROUND To resolve this behavior, make sure that the path of the file contains less than 256 characters. To do this, use one of the following methods: 1) Rename the file so that it has a shorter name. 2) Rename one or more folders that contain the file so that they have shorter names. 3) Move the file (or the folder that contains it) to a folder with a shorter path. If you encounter a situation that will not allow you to take these steps, contact the Help Desk for further assistance.

How you can pass Windows' 256-character filename limits without even noticing Following is an example of how the 256-character filename limitation can make a document seem inaccessible. Using the following location as a reference:

The Path to Lost & Inaccessible Documents

…you would find from counting the characters that anything in the folder called 'Rough Draft with Notes 712-1999' has lost 189 potential characters to the letters leading up to this location: <C:\Documents and Settings\doblak\My Documents\Budget Proposals for 2004 (NOT YET APPROVED)\JoAnn's spreadsheets from the Planning Committee meetings on July 12\Rough Draft with Notes 7-121999\> If you attempt to drag the document, "Photo from the holiday party in December of 1999.bmp" into the folder called, "Assuming upward Trend in Sales", you would get the following error message:

If, however, you dragged the same document into the folder called "David's" (a shorter path), the file would be moved as expected, with no error message. THEN, if you subsequently drag the folder called "David's" into the folder called "Assuming…", you will again not see any error message – until you attempt to open the document inside. Windows will let you move directories without the same warning dialogs as you would see when attempting to move files with the same length of filename. Thus, with the document now located here, it is likely you won't be able to open, rename, move, or sometimes even see the file without taking steps to shorten the path beforehand:

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