‘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.


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



The restore can then be performed as usual.

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About James

I am an Infrastructure Systems Administrator in the Infrastructure Systems Group (ISG) within ISS. We are responsible for a number of the core services which support the IT Infrastructure of the University including Active Directory, Exchange, DNS, Central Filestore, VMware and SQL. I hold number of current Microsoft Certifications and am also a Symantec Certified Specialist (Netbackup) http://twitter.com/JamesAPocock

5 thoughts on “‘Source Path Too Long’ error when using Shadow Copy Service

  1. it doesn’t help that WORD uses the whole first sentence of a new document as its default file name – add that to the path and you very quickly get beyond your 260…

  2. Your tutorial is good but it doesnt work with me but I have found a solution whose name is Long path Tool which is very ease to use where I have been suffering from accessing, managing and even renaming files
    >>> that have more than 255 characters over a long time. I have tried various ways
    >>> but failed. Then I have searched this problem in internet to use Long path Tool.

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