Folders won't copy & weird error messages

Microsoft Microsoft windows xp home edit...
March 24, 2010 at 14:06:06
Specs: Windows XP
I am trying to copy file folders with mutliple subfolders to an external back-up drive. Files are Word documents, pdfs, some media, etc. and all were created by me and are uncorrupted. In the middle of copying I get the error message: "ERROR COPYING FILE OR FOLDER. CANNOT COPY FILE:" That's it - no explanation. When I try to drill down and move subfolders one-at-a-time, I then get the message: "Cannot copy ___: The file name you specified is not valid or too long. Specify different file name", even though there are no long-named files. Even when I try to rename those folders or files, they still won't copy. I can't even move them to the trash - same message. I've even gone into properties and unchecked "read-only", but everytime I go back in to the folder, the "read-only" box is checked again. As a result, my folders/files are held hostage on my C-drive and cannot be backed up. Help please?

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#1
March 24, 2010 at 15:09:16
I cannot account for the documents and PDF's but you said you have some media files. Are they over 4gig in size? If the drive you are copying them to is partitioned as FAT32 then that could be the problem. FAT32 cannot have files larger than 4 gig in size.

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#2
March 24, 2010 at 15:10:30
The maximum path\filename in Windows is approximately 256 characters. Are your's exceeding that?

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#3
March 24, 2010 at 17:22:58
@THX 138 & @aegis1:
There is no media in the subfolders I targeted as an example, and the file names are quite short.
One folder has just 4 simple Word documents, but the error messages come up as "can't be moved" and "file name too long."

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Related Solutions

#4
March 24, 2010 at 17:32:51
Might be worth trying it in safe mode (just in case some process is interefering).


What's the time?


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#5
March 24, 2010 at 18:18:57
In your post you specify that Windows is reporting that your file name is too long.

The file name consists of the entire path including the file name. -- not just the file name. For example, the following file name is over 50 Characters long and it's located in the root of the My Documents folder:

C:\Documents and Settings\kptech\My Documents\testfile.txt

If you have files nested several folders deeper than this as many folks do, you can very quickly end up with extremely long filenames.

If this is the case, there are a couple of things you can do and you can implement one or both...

1. This is the obvious one... You can pare down the length of your file and folder names.

2. You can move your My Documents folder to the root of your disk drive by right-clicking on it and changing the Target folder location to "C:\My Documents". In the above example, this will shorten the path by 28 characters. If you want to squeeze as much out of this as you can, you can shorten the folder name to "My Docs" or "Docs". It can be literally anything you want.

-- kptech



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#6
March 24, 2010 at 19:56:01
That did it KPTech. I didn't realize the entire file path was being invoked, so shortening some of the folder names and moving them to the desktop then on to th eexternal hard-drive did the trick. Thank you.

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#7
March 25, 2010 at 07:20:37
You're very welcome.

Thanks for letting us know that your problem was resolved.

-- kptech


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#8
March 25, 2010 at 07:41:19
"I didn't realize the entire file path was being invoked"
Nor did I, despite having had dealings with computers for years and priding myself on at least knowing the basics. Seems it's never too late to learn.

Thanks kptech for the information. Thinking back, that accounts for various weird things I have encountered in the past and got around by moving files, not knowing why the problem went away. A little gem and rather like suddenly realising that the mouse has a right click button LOL. Nice one!


What's the time?


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#9
March 25, 2010 at 08:19:53
Derek,

"I didn't realize the entire file path was being invoked"

This goes way back to my DOS days. The documentation back then made a big deal of the fact that a file's name included it's entire path. For some reason, it's not mentioned so much any more. Probably part of the trend to only supply minimal documentation. --My first computer came with several 3-ring binders. One for the Computer, one for the printer, one for DOS, one for BASIC. Several of the applications had their own binders too.

----------------------------------

I also ran across a related problem when using batch files to migrate data from one system another. Because the windows command line imposes a limit on the length of commands, you run into a similar problem because when you add the source to the destination...
(xcopy LongSourcePath LongDestinationPath)
...you can run out of command line before the path has a chance to get too long.

"Seems it's never too late to learn."

I think I learn something new just about every day. --more often than not from this site!

-- kptech


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#10
March 25, 2010 at 10:30:38
Then I haven't got a very good excuse LOL.

My first computer was a Dragon 32 (UK - rather similar to a Sinclair) which plugged into the TV and you fed cassette tapes into it. Yeah, BASIC, and I still have GWBASIC on this XP, although minimal usage. Batch files, reg files etc but then I still run into something that I managed to miss despite all.

I have noticed that sometimes (but not always) batch files will only run with truncated 8 character paths - maybe name/path length is the reason.


What's the time?


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