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WinRAR Extract Error: Total Path And File Name Length Must Not Exceed 260 Characters

Yesterday when extracting a ZIP file created with WinRAR I received dozens of errors during the process. The file I was extracting was generated from the entire Documents and Settings folder on a Windows XP computer and I was extracting it to the Desktop of another user on another computer. The issue is the fact that the path and/or filename exceeded the 260 characters which is set by WinRAR. Below I show some output from the errors received as well as two tips that should help resolve the problem.

WinRAR ZIP File Extraction Error Logs:

!   C:Documents and SettingsShopDesktopsierra.zip: Cannot create MarcusLocal SettingsTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE5HQ7Q8J5Tmage;kw=body%20image%20issues;!c=sex-love-life;!c=2008;!c=09;!c=10-things-hes-thinking-when-youre-naked;!c=list;sz=120x60;dcopt=ist;tile=2;ord=1561529965128864[1].5
    Total path and file name length must not exceed 260 characters
!   The system cannot find the path specified.
!   C:Documents and SettingsShopDesktopsierra.zip: Cannot create MarcusLocal SettingsTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE5HQ7Q8J5Tmage;kw=body%20image%20issues;!c=sex-love-life;!c=2008;!c=09;!c=10-things-hes-thinking-when-youre-naked;!c=list;sz=728x90;dcopt=ist;tile=1;ord=1561529965128864[1].5
    Total path and file name length must not exceed 260 characters
!   The system cannot find the path specified.
!   C:Documents and SettingsShopDesktopsierra.zip: Cannot create MarcusLocal SettingsTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE5HQ7Q8J5Tn;chan=love;sect=lnsunderstandmen;sub=whathethinks;pageid=83pt4j0s;cont=12;tandomad=none;sz=970x66,728x90;pos=1;tile=1;dcopt=ist;pm=1;qsg=D;uvi=0;pc=0;ord=550602[1]
    Total path and file name length must not exceed 260 characters
!   The system cannot find the path specified.
!   C:Documents and SettingsShopDesktopsierra.zip: Cannot create MarcusLocal SettingsTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE5HQ7Q8J5Tove;sect=lnsunderstandmen;sub=whathethinks;pageid=83pt4j0s;cont=12;tandomad=none;sz=120x600,160x600,300x600,300x250;pos=5;tile=5;pm=1;qsg=D;uvi=0;pc=0;ord=555802[1]
    Total path and file name length must not exceed 260 characters
!   The system cannot find the path specified.
!   C:Documents and SettingsShopDesktopsierra.zip: Cannot create MarcusLocal SettingsTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE5HQ7Q8J5Trstandmen;chan=love;sect=lnsunderstandmen;sub=whathethinks;pageid=83pt4j0s;cont=12;tandomad=none;sz=468x60,728x90;pos=11;tile=11;pm=1;qsg=D;uvi=0;pc=0;ord=550602[1]
    Total path and file name length must not exceed 260 characters
!   The system cannot find the path specified.
!   C:Documents and SettingsShopDesktopsierra.zip: Cannot create MarcusLocal SettingsTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE5HQ7Q8J5Trstandmen;chan=love;sect=lnsunderstandmen;sub=whathethinks;pageid=8k0fpvx7;cont=12;tandomad=none;sz=468x60,728x90;pos=11;tile=11;pm=1;qsg=D;uvi=0;pc=0;ord=333702[1]
    Total path and file name length must not exceed 260 characters
!   The system cannot find the path specified.
!   C:Documents and SettingsShopDesktopsierra.zip: Cannot create MarcusLocal SettingsTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE5HQ7Q8J5Ttive%20body%20image;kw=body%20image%20issues;!c=sex-love-life;!c=2008;!c=09;!c=10-things-hes-thinking-when-youre-naked;!c=list;sz=4x1;tile=3;ord=2333175297282204[1]
    Total path and file name length must not exceed 260 characters
!   The system cannot find the path specified.
!   C:Documents and SettingsShopDesktopsierra.zip: Cannot create MarcusLocal SettingsTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE5HQ7Q8J5Tve%20body%20image;kw=body%20image%20issues;!c=sex-love-life;!c=2008;!c=09;!c=10-things-hes-thinking-when-youre-naked;!c=list;sz=4x1;tile=3;ord=3924917962762420[1].5
    Total path and file name length must not exceed 260 characters
!   The system cannot find the path specified.
!   C:Documents and SettingsShopDesktopsierra.zip: Cannot create MarcusLocal SettingsTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE5HQ7Q8J5Tve%20body%20image;kw=body%20image%20issues;!c=sex-love-life;!c=2008;!c=09;!c=10-things-hes-thinking-when-youre-naked;!c=list;sz=4x1;tile=3;ord=4045017525028294[1].5
    Total path and file name length must not exceed 260 characters
!   The system cannot find the path specified.
!   C:Documents and SettingsShopDesktopsierra.zip: Cannot create MarcusLocal SettingsTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE5IA3OYESB\0s0FWnlY98EmUp_WyMSsYSubryOOdoMVYNCQBVXBTvG7OgzvV5NKpY-uDPRYr2PWo3YT21ajxaPlmSQXz4BeN8VtMTe9v0Sp0uzVn2T9B7pX9GU5uBtsdRhynTuX_j2uoaI91sW0POWSNt59OK5QEDlGKqkNk[1].gif
    Total path and file name length must not exceed 260 characters
!   The system cannot find the path specified.
!   C:Documents and SettingsShopDesktopsierra.zip: Cannot create MarcusLocal SettingsTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE5IA3OYESB;sz=300x250;klg=en;kt=K;kw64=bGEgbG9iYSBzaGFraXJhIGVuIGVzcGHDsW9s;kga=-1;kr=F;kgg=-1;kcr=us;dc_dedup=1;kmyd=ad_creative_1;tile=1;dcopt=ist;ord=4215402616522453[1].5
    Total path and file name length must not exceed 260 characters
!   The system cannot find the path specified.
!   C:Documents and SettingsShopDesktopsierra.zip: Cannot create MarcusLocal SettingsTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE5JDN6BX8Hsize=728x90;noperf=1;alias=93301008;kvpg=tvlistings[1].aol%2Flistings%2Fky%2Flouisville%2Finsight;kvmn=93301008;target=_blank;aduho=240;grp=155673390;misc=155673390
    Total path and file name length must not exceed 260 characters
!   The system cannot find the path specified.

As you can see above the files and folders being extracted were deep into one of the users Temporary Internet folders which would explain the extra long paths and the winrar error. Use the tips below to shorten the path that files and folders are being extracted to and this should resolve any errors during the uncompress process.

Tip Number One: Rename WinRAR File

In this example I was extracting a file named sierra.zip which then generates a folder for the files to be extracted to called sierra/. Sometimes the file name will be longer thus adding more characters to the extraction path. You should first rename the ZIP or RAR file to something shorter such as a.rar or a.zip. So in my example it only saves us 5 characters from the length of the path but depending on the name of the file this could save many more characters from the length of the path.

Tip Number Two: Extract To Root Directory

Also in this example I was extracting to a users desktop on a totally different computer but because I was doing this it adds “C:\Documents and Settings\User\Desktop” to the path. Instead if you extract to the root of the C directory this will save a bunch more characters. In this example we save 33 more characters in length.

After using both of the tips above I was able to extract the ZIP file without issue.

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