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Troubleshooting Windows file paths longer than 255 characters

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The File Explorer in Windows Operating systems has a 255 character path limit. MyWorkDrive clients (Web Browser, Mapped Drive and Mobile) are subject to this limit just like a traditional mapped drive would be in the office. Over time user tend to deepen the folder structure and exceed the 255 character path limit that Windows supports. This deep folder problem is best controlled by careful monitoring and appropriate user notifications when a file path grows close to the 255 character limit.

Avoiding the path limit

Administrators can avoid running into this path limit by following these best practices:

  • Avoid lengthy folder names on all server folders and monitor user behavior proactively
  • Avoid using spaces in folder names as these must be encoded with 2 additional characters when interacting with various clients
  • Create additional mapping to sub folders – if needed create additional mapping for users on the MyWorkDrive Servers to a deeper location – for example instead of creating one root share, create multiple shares one for each department mapped to a sub folder.

Under the hood

Microsoft has a core set of application programming interfaces (APIs) that programmers can use to interact with applications in the Windows operating system. These programming interfaces are often referred to as the Windows API. The Windows API imposes a maximum filename length such that a filename, including the file path to get to the file, can’t exceed between 255-260 characters. Although programs can be written to overcome this limit, Windows File Explorer still has this limit and if we were to update our clients to support deeper paths, legacy mapped drive users would be unable to work on files and folders exceeding this path limit. Microsoft Article on naming files, paths and namespaces