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USB External Drive Says File Names Too Long

Posted on 2003-12-01
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Hello,

Thank you so much for reading this question.  We backed up a computer's documents to an External drive in preparation for the dreaded re-install.  That went well, but now, in trying to move the files off the drive and back onto the computer, the copying goes on well enough for...2 hours... :((  then it gets to about 1 hour and the most important directory and says it can't continue because a filename is too long, but it doesn't make clear WHICH file name, and it seemed to happen in ANOTHER directory as well (on our second try).  Is there any expert workaround to this you could suggest?  We sure could use your help.  (I thought to zip up the file, but it contains some non-Latin file names, and so WinZip was rejecting the characters saying  ???.htm  is not a valid file name.)  

Many thanks,

Yunkaa
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Question by:yunkaa
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by:SunBow
SunBow earned 166 total points
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You probably need a windows upgrade and an upgrade for backup SW, and maybe a more compatible drive (update for its driver too).  Until then, when you get reliability, think of this. Documents are not the big that often. Consider putting up another PC, network its HD, and use it for backing up files while you work out bugs in a more robust system
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by:SunBow
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During backup/restore, you also have to cease and desist running any other programs such as scandisk, antivirus, screensaver, defrag, powersave etc. Run nothing else to get it going clean to start with.
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by:yunkaa
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Hello,

We will try that.  The thing that strike us as curious is why it did not give the error in copying the files over TO the external drive, but does in bringing them BACK to the PC.  Also, there seems to be a new XP feature calle Files and Transfer Setting Wizard.  We'll give that a look.

Best wishes,

Yun
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by:kronostm
kronostm earned 168 total points
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yunkaa ... are you able to access that file?
I guess it's a HTML saved from some site and the file was named by the first text line, it happened to me too. Also, such long time for restoring from backup points me towards a ton of small files (probably html ) or some serious problems with one of the drives.
What software did you used for backing up?
If you just copied the file on that drive and now it can't be brought back, then what does a scandisk on the source drive reports?
have you tried other compression algorythm besides zip ?

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by:yunkaa
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Hello Kronostm,

Thank you so much for replying.  We are still experiencing the same problems, and your remarks pre-sage some of the questions we were going to ask.

>>Also, such long time for restoring from backup points me towards a ton of
>>small files (probably html )

Yes, there are a ton of small files.  The total size of the directory holding them is 130Mb.

>>or some serious problems with one of the drives.

Possible, we have a high-speed disk but a low speed connection in the machine.

>>If you just copied the file on that drive and now it can't be brought back,
>>then what does a scandisk on the source drive reports?

We haven't tried that.  Will do so now.  Although we are terrified to do so. Could ScanDisk decide to "fix" the disk and thus... xxx?

>>have you tried other compression algorythm besides zip ?

This was our next question.  Is there any way to "flash" the directory?  We use that in a generic/non-professional understanding we have:
that there is some kind of application that takes, for lack of a better term, a photo of the data, thus eliminating the confusion if a file name is too long or is in a non-Latin font, both or one of which is hanging WinZip.  (Is this how Ghost works, as a kind of picture?)  Is there any kind of application such as this that we could use to flash the data over?

Many, many thanks,

Yun
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by:graye
graye earned 166 total points
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Are you perhaps installing the contents of the external disk onto a directory that is "deeper" than it was before.   The total length of a file name is 259 characters (that's 256 characters for the path, and 3 for the drive+colon+slash).

Let me try to explain...  suppose I had a directory called c:\somedir that I copied to z:\ (z being the external drive).  Later I try to restore the contents of Z: to c:\somelongerdir\someotherdir\yetanotherdir.  Under this scenario, it's quiet possible that the restored files will exceed the maximum path length. (because the destination directory is "deeper" than before).

<rant>the Maximum path issue is a horrible design that needs to be fixed... it's way to easy for someone to map a drive letter that's "deep" into a shared directory, then copy files that perfectly fine from that drive letter's perspective.  Later, when the administrator wants to poke around the share (without the use of the mapped "shortened path", he/she gets the dreaded "path too long" error.  It's very annoying, and there's nothing the administrator can do to prevent it from happening</rant>

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kronostm earned 168 total points
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<<Although we are terrified to do so. Could ScanDisk decide to "fix" the disk>> You shouldn't be. It's probably just a logical error, maybe on the FAT, that can be fixed.
I guess the HTML file is not so important for yuo, so even if it's lost during the "repair" proccess, it's not the end of the world.
And if the HDD has some physical problems then it's better to know from now so you won't use it anymore for backups. Since the data on it has been saved, that's a lucky situation.
Anyway, let's see what scandisk sais (I recommend using something more professional than M$'s scandisk, like Norton Disk Doctor )
I'll paste here a very frequently pasted :-) list of tools. Credit for gathering the list goes to somebody that I loost track on the path of tons of pastes.

Hard Drive Diagnostics

*****Vendor Specific Support/Diagnostics*****

Maxtor/Quantum (Fireball) http://www.maxtor.com/en/support/products/index.htm
Western Digital http://support.wdc.com/download/
Samsung http://www.samsungelectronics.com/hdd/support/utilities/utilities_index.html
Seagate http://www.seagate.com/support/seatools/index.html
IBM/Hitachi http://www.hgst.com/hdd/support/download.htm#DFT
fujitsu/Seimens http://www.fcpa.fujitsu.com/download/hard-drives/#diagnostic

If you do not know the drive manifacturer try some generic drive testers

*****FREE*****

ZDU http://www.webattack.com/get/zdu.shtml
Zdu is a diagnostic utility for disks & directories. It comes as a GUI version as well as a commandline only version (both included).

AIDA http://www.webattack.com/get/aida32.shtml
An easy to use report wizard allows you to create detailed reports in the format of your choice

*****TRIALWARE*****

DiskChecker http://www.webattack.com/get/diskchecker.shtml
Disk Checker is a disk diagnostics, repair and disk image tool for FAT and NTFS.

Drive Health http://www.webattack.com/get/drivehealth.gif.shtml
Drive Health helps you to estimate your hard disks life resource. It allows you to predict possible hard drive failure


Kronos
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by:yunkaa
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Hello,

The files were STILL on the drive, even though we ran a reinstall TWICE.  They are all still there!?  Well, no complaining about that.  Thanks for all the helpful comments.  We certainly learned a lot through all this.

Many thanks,

Yunkaa
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