limit of 256 characters in pathname

tim.conway at tim.conway at
Mon Sep 16 16:08:01 EST 2002

I don't have time to test this, but perhaps you can bypass your problem by 
mounting the desired directory higher in the heirarchy?  I don't know if 
the underlying character counts count against the limit, but it's worth a 

Tim Conway
tim.conway at
303.682.4917 office, 303.921.0301 cell
Philips Semiconductor - Longmont TC
1880 Industrial Circle, Suite D
Longmont, CO 80501
Available via SameTime Connect within Philips, caesupport2 on AIM
"There are some who call me.... Tim?"

Ville Herva <vherva at>
Sent by: rsync-admin at
09/14/2002 12:40 PM

        To:     bart.coninckx at
        cc:     rsync at
(bcc: Tim Conway/LMT/SC/PHILIPS)
        Subject:        Re: limit of 256 characters in pathname

On Wed, Sep 11, 2002 at 07:40:01PM +0200, you [bart.coninckx at] 
> Hi,
> We use rsync on NT (server and client) and we get errors on filenames 
> a path that has in total more than 256 characters. This seems to be 
> by a limit in rsync, not in NT. Is there a way to break this limit 
> having to manually shorten all this filenames?

Which rsync version for windows are you using?

If you are using the cygwin version, the 256 character limit is set by
the cygwin API. 

You are right in that NT (/w2k/xp) and NTFS allow for longer filenames, 
not through the normal Win32 API functions. You need to use the unicode
versions of the file access functions, prepend a '\\?\' prefix to turn of
file path parsing, and even then, individual path components cannot exceed
MAX_PAH (255).

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