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Fixing The 256 Character File Name Limit In windows 10 / 11

If a file refuses to open in a folder (e.g. PDF) or copying it in Windows Explorer causes Explorer to crash then the issue might be file length.


Most versions of Microsoft Windows  since Windows 7 can handle a file path and name length of up to 256 characters. If a file name (including the path) exceeds 256 characters then various things might occur.

  • Explorer crashes
  • Cant rename the file
  • File refuses to open unless moved to a sub folder
  • Cannot copy / paste files into a folder

A longer file length is possible in Windows 10 / 11 . This requires a registry change.

The Solution: 

To enable the long path behavior in Windows 10 you can merge a registry key or manually create it.

Merge a registry key

Create / Set the Registry Key manually

  1. Go to Windows Start and type REGEDIT.
  2. Choose the Registry Editor.
  3. In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following location: at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem.
  4. Select the entry named: LongPathsEnabled.

Note: If the registry key does not exist, the entry can also be added by doing the following:

  1. With the FileSystem folder selected, right-click in the empty space of the Name column where the registry keys are located.
  2. Select New.
  3. Choose the DWORD (32-bit) Value.
  4. Right-click the newly added key and choose Rename.
  5. Name the key LongPathsEnabled.
  6. Press Enter.
  7. Double-click on the LongPathsEnabled entry to open the key.
  8. In the Value data field, enter a value of 1. This will enable to long paths option.

 In order for all apps on the system to be able to use longer file names it is important to restart your computer after installing this fix.