If the error “Cannot Copy the Path is Too Deep” is displayed while a USB drive is being used, it is possible that there is a problem accessing the data on the drive. This is not an uncommon problem and it occurs especially when a USB storage device is used on different computers.
A well known factor in NTFS based files systems causes this problem. The max path for the file cannot exceed 256 characters including the folder names and the file name itself. Certain operating systems can support large file paths (up to several thousand characters in length), but not all software recognize them and only the machine that they were created on can access them unless these limits are removed.
The following options can help to resolve the issue of having deep file paths:
When the Operating System is the Cause
Although this problem is more frequent in the Windows XP Operating System, it can happen based on the limitations of the OS’s file system. To remedy the issue, the user must have access to a system that can ignore the path’s length so that the folders can be rearranged in such a way that the path is not over 256 characters prior to copying.
The other solution is to copy the files from the USB storage drive from a shorter path to the new destination. For example:
The file to be copied is in file path “E:\Folder1 Sortable Documents From PC\Folder2 Personal Files From PC\Folder3 Random Users Files\Folder4 Collection Of Pictures\Folder5 Vacation Photos From Summer 2013\Folder6 Funny Pics We Captured\Folder7 At The Beach In The Afternoon\Folder8 The Sunset\The Kids On The Beach While The Sun Sets.JPG”
This file path is 261 characters long without spaces! With spaces the filename path is 300 characters long. Now, that is not all that the operating system uses to understand the file path’s location. In reality, this path name can be even longer when the USB device’s hidden name is included, which adds several characters to the filename path.
Copying the file “The Kids On The Beach While The Sun Sets.JPG” directly from the folder “Folder8 The Sunset\” to the destination folder is the best option to resolve the “Cannot Copy the Path is too Deep” error.
Note: If the file path is not over this limit when copying from the source USB drive and the error message is still being displayed, the problem may be the destination folder. Ensure that the destination path does not exceed the character limit for the file path in order to copy the files from the source drive.
Cable or Connection is the Cause
How the USB drive is connected to the computer may also cause this problem.
USB Hubs as the path too deep culprit are common and can possibly be caused by:
- The Hub firmware interfering with the USB device
- The reduced power that the Hub gives to the connected USB devices
Four options that may resolve the issue:
Remove the USB drive and reconnect it to ensure that the drive did not go to sleep or time out. This is an issue especially with portable hard disks that the USB port powers. This may help to fix the problem if the error was reporting incorrectly due to the drive sleep issues.
Second, simply remove the hub and connect the USB drive directly to the USB port to access the drive. This will prevent the USB hub from interfering with the communication between the USB drive and the computer system.
Third, update the firmware from theUSB hub device from the manufacturer’s website to remedy the issue. This may not be available for all USB hub devices.
Fourth, move the USB drive to a USB port on the back of the computer (PC Tower). These are connected directly to the motherboard and are accessed in a different way than ports located elsewhere on the computer. Similarly, laptop/notebook PCs may have USB ports that are designed into the motherboard and others that are routed via alternative methods (such as notebook cards or different locations on the computer not directly connected to the motherboard).
Hardware is the Cause
When the issue occurs with removable media used in USB adapters such as SD cards, MMC, and other types of Non-Volatile flash memory chips, the problem may be in the memory cards themselves. Such memory cards wear out over time and the memory can become corrupt. This can also occur in flash memory USB drives as well when they have reached their use limits.
If hardware failure is the cause, it is possible to still be able to access the files and copy them to a new location by either:
Upgrading the USB devices’ firmware or upgrading the computer system’s BIOS. To update the device’s firmware, check with the manufacturer and download and install any applicable firmware updates. The BIOS update will also require knowing the computer motherboard’s manufacturer and locating the appropriate and most up to date BIOS update to use with the system.
Compressed Folders are the Cause
Last but not least, the error can occur within compressed folders. Zipped (.ZIP) folders, Compressed Roger Archives (.RAR), as well as other types of compressed files are commonly used for file storage and sharing between computer systems. When the file paths are created within systems that have no restrictions or the file path before file compression is within the limits, the resulting paths from extraction may be too long from a USB drive.
To remedy this, the compressed file can be navigated to the folder or path that needs to be extracted within the compression utility software then uncompressed to the new location. The other option is to change the compressed files’ path within the compressed archive before the extraction process takes place.
Simple Workaround for Cannot Copy the Path is Too Deep
In order to only get a copy of the file from the drive, it may be possible to use this workaround for several common file types:
Open the file in the program it is designed to run in. Once the file has opened in the program, locate the “Save As” function in the file menu or use the appropriate shortcut or command key to do so. The program should then open a directory window that will allow the user to navigate to the new destination directory.
Once in the new directory, simply rename the file and save it or use the original file name to re-save the document into the new destination directory. The file will then be copied via the software that was designed to access it.
Note: not all files can be copied in this manner simply because the system cannot access all files. Doing so depends on the type of file as well as the available software on the system itself.
Note 2: Some software options also adhere to the 256 character limit or may have limits of their own set in place that may cause issues with accessing the file from the source.
Freeware Fix for “Cannot Copy the Path is Too Deep”
One option that helps with the “path too deep” issue is available through the Teracopy third party software solution. Teracopy is a simple to use copy utility that allows users to copy any file from one source to the destination regardless of character limits. It also improves copy speeds and provides a pause and resume function that may come in handy if the copy process suddenly needs to be stopped.
Teracopy is available at: Teracopy