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Microsoft maintains a limit of 258 characters for the name of a file or sub-folder. If this limit is exceeded, you cannot delete, move or rename the sub-folder/file. In such a situation, attempting to copy, paste or delete the file or sub-folder would result in the following error:
“The source file name(s) are larger than is supported by the file system. Try moving to a location which has a shorter path name, or try renaming to shorter name(s) before attempting this operation.”
Before moving on to solutions, it is important to first know what is causing the problem. Basically, there is a character limit to name or rename files in your Windows operating system. The limit is usually only 250 to 260 characters to name file and path names. If you transfer files with long names from one destination to another, this path will be displayed too long in the Windows system.
All the methods listed below should solve the problem. Feel free to follow what you think is most accessible to your current situation.
Permanently delete the file/sub-folder.
You cannot send the boring file/sub-folder to the Trash because you are changing the path, which is not possible. However, you can permanently delete the file/sub-folder.
In the main folder, select and press SHIFT+DEL to permanently delete it.
Delete a tree by creating a bait and switch directory
There is another manual approach that many concerned users successfully used to delete a folder three that showed the error “Source file names are larger than those supported by the file system”.
This approach consists in creating a lure folder in the same directory as the folder that cannot be deleted. By temporarily moving the contents of the folder that cannot be deleted in the Decoy folder, some users have managed to delete the entire directory three that displayed the error.
Using the command line
To delete a file that is too long, simply open a command prompt in the directory where the file is located and use a simple command to retrieve the short name of the file. Open the File Explorer and browse to the directory where your files are located. Hold down the Shift key, then right-click on an empty area. Select “Open command window here”. A prompt window opens, focusing on the directory in which you are located.
Then type the following command in the Command Prompt window:
If the directory contains more files than can be displayed on a single screen, use the DIR /X /P command instead so that it stops at any screen length and you can check the list of files.
This command lists all directories and files in the current directory, as well as the old 8.3 file name for all files and directories. In our screenshot example above, you can see how the dummy txt file with senseless file names (and hundreds of characters long) is reduced to a simple “WHYSOL~1.TXT”.
With the short name of the file or directory you want to delete, you can simply run an LED command for the file:
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CCNA, Web Developer, PC Troubleshooter
I am a computer enthusiast and a practicing IT Professional. I have years of experience behind me in computer programming, hardware troubleshooting and repair. I specialise in Web Development and Database Design. I also have a CCNA certification for Network Design and Troubleshooting.