How to prevent users from exceeding the long file path name limit

Server Guy
Server Guy used Ask the Experts™
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Hi,

Our terminal server users are constantly naming files with names that exceed the long file path name limit which then prevents users from accessing or moving the file. We are currently only able to react to the issue after the naming has taken place, are there any proactive solutions that prevents or warns users when they attempt to name a file which will then exceed the long file path name limit.

Has anyone created any Powershell scripts which have resolved the above issue?
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Senior Infrastructure Analyst
Commented:
So, you're talking about the 255 character limit right... User education is all you have.

You could run a script which goes through and promptly renames any files hitting the limit but this carries an inherent risk.

Long and the short, there isn't really anything out there. You could consider mapping network drives to a deeper level which would stop this happening, then you could end up with issues on the server instead the client. But even then backup applications will still read it.

If it were me, I'd be properly harsh and give users 2 weeks to stop doing it, at which point any issues would be unsupported. I had to implement that rule previously and it actually worked.

When people stopped asking, I ran a robocopy for them to a shared drive to take their stuff back out and then store it appropriately. No more issues :-)

Cheers

Alex-
Most Valuable Expert 2018
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
There's no solution for that, sorry. The real NTFS limit is way higher, otherwise users obviously wouldn't be able to store "too long" files in the first place (namely around 32000 characters, which is more than the average user is willing to type or even browse to).
The problem is "what actually is the file path length"? Well, "it depends" - again, otherwise users wouldn't be able to save files that other users won't be able to access.
There's the absolute file path on the server - that is usually already longer than what the user sees.
Then with access over shares, the path length to the same file will vary, depending on where the drive letter is mapped, or whether a UNC was used.
You'll need to educate your users, until Microsoft and all other developers will fix all their products.

Author

Commented:
Thanks for you above comments, I will continue to investigate.

Author

Commented:
Will continue researching whilst educating our users.

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