[Libs-Or] Tech-Talk: WEB TOOL - Find Long File Path Problems

Darci Hanning darci.hanning at state.or.us
Tue Nov 26 14:07:01 PST 2019

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 This Week's Topic: WEB TOOL
1. VIDEO ... Find Long File Path Problems
2. ARTICLE ... Find Long File Path Problems
3. COMMUNICATING ... What 3 things do you say when answering the phone?

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WEB TOOL - Find Long File Path Problems

[file path]

I am restoring files from my back-up service onto a new computer. Great, right? Push a button and, over time, they all appear (about 43,000 files) on my PC in the same organizational structure I've always had.

This time there is a problem! There is a whole slew of files that can not be put back in the right place because they are too long!

The file path ... the name of the document, plus putting it into a folder, inside of another folder, inside of another folder, etc ... is longer than 256 characters.

Here's an example of a document's file path (229 characters) ...

C:\Users\linda\Documents\_Shared Results International\Products\_3- Egalitarian Leadership\Workbook\6 - Hold 2-Way Commitment Conversations - executing ideas\SharedDirection Success - A 3 Step Process\BLANK - Change Goal Plan.doc

Why Is This a Problem?

There are several reasons why this is a problem.

Now that we've all been working on computers for years, stacking files within folders and more folders, the inevitable result is that file paths will become too long ... which means we won't be able to get to them. They kind of go off the grid.


You may get a message from Dropbox (or any other cloud storage) saying something like, "file name too long."

Here's a typical problem found online.

"When I move some files over to Dropbox I get a message that says the name is too long. Dropbox accepts the file but won't let me rename or even move it onto my desktop."

You may remember when we were limited to just a few characters in naming a document, so we created short names in "code" like:

(12 characters with spaces)

Now without the character limitation, we more typically would name it something like:

Tech-Talk social media - Facebook intro
(39 characters with spaces).

Over time as you put that file in a bunch of nested or stacked folders, eventually you have problems because Windows and online storage servers all have a total file limit of approximately 256 characters (with spaces).

Determine the Length of Your File Names


Fortunately, there is a free web tool that you can use to quickly identify all the files that are too long.

It's called TLPD (The Long Path Detector) created by SourceForge. It is designed to tackle the 'path name too long' issue. It scans the directory tree, searching for files and folders with a full pathname that may be too long for Windows to handle.

I ran this tiny program on my computer and found over 4,000 files that were too long! (OK, we've been in business for almost 25 years, so we're entitled to a few lengthy file names, right?)

Let me show you how to get the program on your computer and run it to find the files. Then we'll suggest a few ideas for what to do with these long-named documents.

Installing The Long File Path Detector

To get the web tool...

1.  Go to https://sourceforge.net/projects/tlpd/<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001px5FjWmK8eiObjrEzXcHxhA17WFlabRPGASwbNV6RFF7lTvKtaPSbhub68uVJhqkAb4hx5PUXMQJX5mLKKD9I1lChQdTJ8n-gdCQBctA2IZTAlsWChzBBiG4oEbXk8aqnjQYrXJpZ4_knhGpqkbMsu7kUIumgla_mO2seMA8F4w=&c=6pTjl7IVIrRyMYprBJEIIPp441Q2TxEDUigpH1TqmcLElqsGThroBA==&ch=fr1NwKyj7uVpsuh25N1AWqOfGx_PCrA4_DhAca1ObddML39_PjUh9w==>
2.  Click on Download
3.  Extract the files from the zipped folder (just click on it)
4.  Double-click on the appropriate .exe file

You'll be asked if you have a particular folder you want to check, or if you want to check all your drives. We have everything in a folder called Shared Results International so I chose "yes."




You'll then also be able to choose the threshold of characters for which to search. The default is 200. That means it will find any and every file that exceeds that level.

In just a few seconds, you'll find the results that look like the image below. Notice the very small tab on the right scroll bar? That means there are a LOT of files to go through.


TIP: Copy the results and paste them into a spreadsheet. (It's easy by pressing Control + A [highlighting "All"], then Control + C to copy.) Paste it (Control + V) into Excel or Google Sheets so you can manage the data and determine how many files you have.


What To Do With Long File Named Documents

[shrink file]

There are a couple of things you can do to shorten the file names so that you won't get into trouble.

1. Move lower folders up. Find sub folders and take them out, making them higher up in the hierarchy.

2. Rename the longer file / folder items with something shorter.

3. Start naming folders and files in the future with an eye to shorter vs. longer.


Communications: Phone
Make the most of answering the phone

It sounds so simple ... answering the phone. It's probably something you do without thinking.

Research shows that you get the best results if you use a 3-Part Greeting each time you answer the phone.

You get to choose which three elements work best for you ... but not the order in which you say them. Always mention something first, which if not heard, will not matter.

Part #1: Give the caller time to "turn on their ears". Choose a greeting like "Hello" or "Good morning." Why? If the first thing you say is the name of the company or department, most people won't really hear it. It's too soon.

Part #2: Continue with a fact such as: "This is Linda" or "ABC Company." Part #2 is the most flexible. Say whatever information you think is important for the caller to hear in this slot.

Part #3: Always end with some indication that you are empowered to take action on the caller's behalf. Examples: "How may I help you?" or "How may I direct your call?"


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