# ‘Source Path Too Long’ error when using Shadow Copy Service

When using Shadow Copy Service (also known as “Previous Versions”) to restore or copy a file you may receive an error which states ‘Source Path Too Long’

This is due to a limitation of the Windows File System . In the Windows the maximum length for a path is defined as 260 characters for example “H:\some 256-character path string”. Programs which break this limitation can cause this and other problems on clients and servers.

Workaround

In order to restore files and folders where this error occurs you need to map a Network drive to the location to shorten the path. This changes a long path to a short one allowing the restore to take place.

So a long path like

\\campus\dept\mydeparmtnet\management\management reports\trial system\pre-adoption \Research and development with no reponse\reports\2010

Becomes

X:\2010\

The restore can then be performed as usual.