Fix: Destination path too long error

Users get the “Destination Path Too Long” error while trying to copy, move or remove certain files or folders on Windows operating systems. Most of the time, this error happens because Microsoft has a 256/260 folder and name restriction in place.

Even if the issue is over 20 years old, the bug is still encountered on all the recent Windows versions. Keep in mind that this is not a limitation of NTFS, so changing the format will not remove the issue. The problem is caused by a limitation within the Win32 API library. Most of the standard issued applications (including File Explorer) will malfunction if the character limit is exceeded.

If you’re currently struggling with this issue, we might be of help. Below you have a collection of methods that have enabled users in a similar situation to resolve the issue. Please follow each potential fix in order until you encounter a method that fixes the “Destination Path Too Long” error.

Method 1: Shorten the name of the parent folder

The easiest solution out of the bunch is to simply shorten the name of the parent folder. But as you can imagine, this is not always applicable. This method is not applicable if you have a lot of files that are exceeding the length restriction limit.

If you only have a few files or folders that are displaying this issue while moved / deleted / copied, simply shortening their names and try again.

If this is not applicable to your situation, move to the method below.

Method 2: Temporarily rename the file extension to text

If you’re receiving this error while trying to move a single .zip or .rar file, you can try to temporarily rename the file extension to text and rename it back after you have moved it. Here’s a quick guide to doing this:

  1. Right-click on the .zip or .rar archive and choose Rename. Then, modify the extension to “txt“.
    Note: If you can’t see the extension types by default, access the View tab of File Explorer and check the box associated with File name extensions.
  2. Move the file to where you want it to be, then right-click on it again, choose Rename and modify the extension back to what it was initially (.zip or .rar).

If you weren’t able to move the file with this method or if it wasn’t applicable to your situation, move to the method below.

Method 3: Delete folder with DeleteLongPath

If you have a deleting a folder that exceeds the 260 character limit, you can use a reliable freeware to get around this problem. DeleteLongPath is a freeware that will get rid of the folder immediately. The lightweight program is designed to automatically delete the folder structure and all of its containing subfolders and files.

Here’s a quick guide on how to use DeleteLongPath to delete a folder that displays the “Destination Path Too Long” error when deleted:

  1. Visit this link (here) and download the DeleteLongPath Freeware.
  2. Extract the DeleteLongPath executable from the zip file and open it.
  3. Use the Browse button to set the path of the folder that can’t be removed and hit the Delete button to get rid of it.
  4. Hit Yes at the final Warning prompt and wait for the folder structure to be deleted. But keep in mind that all subfolders and files of that particular folder will also be deleted.

Method 4: Enable Long Path Support (Windows 10 built 1607 or higher)

If you’re on Windows 10 and have already applied the Anniversary Update (1607), it’s possible to disable the MAX_PATH limit on the system level. You can enable support for long paths by using Registry Editor. Here’s a quick guide through the whole thing:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run command. Type “regedit” and hit Enter to open Registry Editor.
  2. Using the left pane, navigate through Computer > HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > CurrentControlSet > Control > FileSystem.
  3. With FileSystem selected from the left pane, double-click on LongPathsEnabled (right panel).
  4. In the Edit DWord Value of LongPathsEnabled, set the Value data to 1 and hit Ok to save.
  5. Close Registry Editor and try operating the folders or file that were displaying the  “Destination Path Too Long” error.

If this method wasn’t applicable, move down to the method below.

Method 5: Using the xcopy command in an elevated Command Prompt

Some users have been able to resolve the “Destination Path Too Long” error by using the xcopy command in an elevated command prompt. Here’s a quick guide on how to do this:

  1. Use the start bar in the bottom-left corner to search for “cmd“. Then, right-click on it and click on Run as Administrator.

  2. Paste the following command into the elevated Command Prompt and hit Enter:
    xcopy *path to source files* *path to destination* /O /X /E /H /K
    Note: Keep in mind that *path to source files* and *path to destination* are simply placeholders for the exact paths. Replace the placeholders with the real locations before hitting Enter.
Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

Expert Tip

Fix: Destination path too long error

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