"Path too Deep" Error Message – We have the Answer

Windows Home Server does not play nice with large files above 4GB or 5GB. Using the simple copy-and-paste in Windows Explorer or by dragging and dropping from the source to the destination causes the system to either completely lock up or results in a “Path too deep” error message. And others get this error when using SyncToy, RoboCopy or XCopy as well.

What Causes It?

It is mostly caused by having over 256 characters in the path. You have to remember that although the SHARE name is only for example \\server\RecordedTV, the actual folder on the WHS box is probably something like the following due to the way Drive Extender handles the data.:




So as you can see, with the above path, your directory and file naming can easily go over the 256 permitted characters.

How do I check?

If you open the console and click on the  “Network Health” icon and it will display the path too deep error. If you click on the error, it will list which files are too long. Just edit the file and directory name to a shorter length.

Detailed error information can also be found in %QLOGS\qsm.log, which you can check to see for a failing path and see what the error is.

My paths are <256 Characters!

This shouldn’t be failing when the complete path and file name does NOT exceed 256 characters in length, but some people are experiencing this even when there are less than that amount and this problem is not solved even when Power Pack 1 is installed. So if this is your case, what now?

Third Party Software to the Rescue

Using the free utility TeraCopy, which we mentioned the other day causes the “Path too deep” error to totally disappear and for now seems the answer. At least temporary.

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Comments (11)

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  1. Carren W. says:

    What do you call WHS locking up? BSOD or WOW experience?

    This is a major fault of using NTFS, reported many years ago, and it still remains an issue unresolved, just as the WHS data corruption serious fatal flaw…

    See Microsoft KB article posted at:
    http://www.support.microsoft.com/kb/946676 🙁

    And by all means don’t copy DVD movies, as WHS doesn’t play nice. Doesn’t this sound just like Vista DRM?

    And this problem is not solved even when Power Pack 1 is installed! So just like Vistaware, everyone WAITS for WHS PP2, just like Vistaware SP2 just to get things working…

    Linux doesn’t have these issues and it’s FREE. 🙂
    http://www.osliving.com (see for yourself)

    With proprietary source code, only relatively few ‘privileged’ individuals can review the code for problems or actually work on fixing them. Being closed source has not prevented the daily exploitation of security holes that never get fixed in Microsoft products, while the Linux holes come a few times a year and get fixed.

    Why can’t Microsoft fix it’s own buggy software programs?
    Why should Third Party Software need to Rescue WHS?

    Buy cripple WHS, insist upon third party solutions and praise Microsoft? You got to be joking…

    And is WHS really safe and secure? How about how an attacker could exploit WHS? See Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-001, which states, “Vulnerabilities in TCP/IP Could Allow Remote Code Execution”…

    So who wants to use WHS when it’s flawed with data corruption, security vulnerabilities and requires third party solutions, that lack basic functions such as a print server, wireless connectivity, lack of high definition streaming content, which Vista enforces HDCP that WHS doesn’t support…

    Prove me wrong…

  2. Subse7en says:

    Carren W – U cant show me what home server does and how easy it is to use at setup on a linux OS.

    Yes windows has security issues but linkux is not bullet proof either.

    also on another note u replied with :
    And is WHS really safe and secure? How about how an attacker could exploit WHS? See Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-001, which states, “Vulnerabilities in TCP/IP Could Allow Remote Code Execution”…

    I will bet you have know idea how to exploit this stack? or even where to go to find out.

    also I am using my WHS as a media server and HD streams perfect so you have no idea what you are talking about. Also I use Media Portal with WMP11… thats right I installed WMP11 on server based OS.

    So before you think you are all high and mighty just remember that there is always some faster, smarter, and stronger.


    • Mark says:

      Subse7en, Carren is correct. Linux might not be bullet proof but it a helluva lot closer than Windblows, AND IT IS FREE! For nearly $400 I would expect Windows to be much much better, but it is not, in fact it is not even AS GOOD AS the free free stuff.

  3. Joffa says:

    Nope this is not right, files should copy to the server and MS’s file system should get over it. Opened the console and have no errors displayed. I have a file that’s around 50 deep (total path) and it’s causing issues. Gets the same error. Can be reproduced on an intermittent basis, well every 10 or so copies to the server. The other one that I get is the “cannot access the share” any longer error. I can reproduce this one on about the same frequency.

    While I really like the concept that is Home Server it staggers me that MS can release a product with so many simple to reproduce errors. Oh and by the way having to go to a 3rd party product to fix one of the deficiencies of the file system is totally stuffed.

    Copies between my laptop (WiFi) and home PC (LAN) run fine but using WHS stuffs up on a regular basis. WHS should play nice with large files if not then MS should add it to their list of test cases.


  4. James says:

    I am running Windows 2003 and would like to find all files and folders that exceed the 255 character limit. In your notes you say to open the console and click on the network health icon. Where is this icon you speak of?

  5. This might be a stupid question but can anyone advice how to fix error code 39 on windows xp ?

  6. jangadbutta says:

    Instead of using obsolete solution from http://www.longpathtool.com, you’d better visit the website of original manufacturer – http://www.pathtoolong.com – to download the latest version of Path Too Long.

  7. mmm says:


  8. Malik Arsalan says:

    when ever i copy the file from computer to flash or a card i always face his problem of file is too deep so kindly please tell me how i can remove this problem .

  9. BenBrown says:

    I had the similiar problem and finally I found solution

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