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Tips on How You Can Fix the ‘Path Too Long’ Error When Extracting a Zip File

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The Windows operating system already has native capability for extracting ZIP files, and Windows 11 is experimenting with adding support for more archive types. However, some people who are extracting a file on their PC run into the “Path too long” issue.

This error may be caused by a bug in Windows Explorer, abnormally long file names, or a lack of support for long file paths. Six solutions are provided below to help you successfully extract the ZIP package and fix the problem.

RESTART WINDOWS EXPLORER

If Windows Explorer experiences an issue, File Explorer may also be affected. Windows Explorer provides interface compatibility for many system apps. So, you must use Task Manager to restart the process. All you have to do is search Windows Explorer on task manager right click and select restart. The Windows Explorer process will restart as the display on your computer flickers momentarily. All active app windows, however, will stay just as they were.

EXTRACT THE FILES TO THE ROOT DIRECTORY

A difficulty may arise if you attempt to extract an archive file that is buried deep inside a directory. While extracting the file, Windows also includes the folder hierarchy in the file name, making it needlessly large.

Extracting the package to the drive’s root is a quick fix for this issue. The less complicated route will let you successfully extract the ZIP file while using fewer characters.

RENAME THE ZIP FILE

Try renaming the ZIP file to something shorter if the name is too long. Select the Rename option from the context menu by performing a right-click on the ZIP file. To rename the file, enter a succinct name and hit Enter.

ENABLE SUPPORT FOR LONG PATH USING THE GROUP POLICY EDITOR

The renaming method won’t function on your Windows 11 or 10 PC if the subfolders inside the ZIP package also have long names. You can use the Group Policy Editor to activate support for a long path if you’re using Windows Pro, Enterprise, or Education. You can then extract ZIP files with names greater than 260 characters after completing that step.

ENABLE SUPPORT FOR LONG PATHS USING THE REGISTRY EDITOR

You cannot access the Group Policy Editor if you use Windows Home. Instead, you must utilize the Registry Editor to make your PC capable of supporting lengthy file paths. However, as a precaution, manually backup your registry and export it to a USB drive before you do that.

Step 1: Type regedit on the Windows search bar and press enter.

Step 2: It will open the User Account Control Window. To launch the Registry Editor, click the Yes option.

Step 3: Paste this path on the address bar at the top. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem

Step 4: Locate the LongPathsEnabled value by hovering over the right pane. Simply right-click on it and choose “Modify.”

Step 5: Type 1 into the Value Data text box by clicking on it. Next, press the OK button. After this method, close the registry editor and restart your PC.

USE A THIRD-PARTY ARCHIVING PROGRAM

After turning on long path support, if you still can’t extract the ZIP file, use a third-party archiver like WinRAR or 7-ZIP. These apps don’t have a 260-character limit and, barring faulty files can assist you in properly unarchiving ZIP files with lengthy names.

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