Windows OS contains native support to extract ZIP files and is experimenting with adding support for other archive formats in Windows 11. However, some users encounter the ‘Path too long’ error when extracting a file on their PC.
The potential reasons for this error include a glitch in Windows Explorer, unusually long file names, and missing support for long file paths. We will list six methods to resolve the issue and help you extract the ZIP archive successfully.
1. Restart Windows Explorer
Windows Explorer offers interface support for many system apps, and if it encounters a glitch, you may have trouble with File Explorer. So, you need to restart the process using Task Manager. Here’s how:
Step 1: Press the Control + Shift + Enter keyboard shortcut to open the Task Manager.
Step 2: Click on the search bar and type explorer in it. Press Enter to search for the process.
Step 3: Right-click on the Windows Explorer process and select the Restart option.
Your PC’s display will flicker briefly while the Windows Explorer process restarts. However, all the open app windows will remain as they were.
2. Rename the ZIP File
If the ZIP file’s name is too long, you can try renaming the file to a shorter name. Right-click on the ZIP file and then select the Rename option from the context menu. Type a short name and then press Enter to change the name of the file.
Right-click on the renamed archive file and select the Extract all option. Check if the extraction operation is successful or not.
3. Extract the Files To the Root Directory
Trying to extract an archive file located deep inside a directory can cause a problem. Windows also includes the folder structure in the file name and it can become unnecessarily long while extracting the file.
A simple workaround for this is to extract the archive to the root of the drive. The simpler path will reduce the number of characters and help you successfully extract the ZIP file. Here’s how:
Step 1: Press the Windows + E keyboard shortcut to open the File Explorer.
Step 2: Navigate to the location of the archive file and right-click on it. Select the Extract all option.
Step 3: Delete everything in the path except the root directory name (C, D, or any other drive).
Step 4: Click on the Extract button.
Step 5: Check if you face the path too long error while unzipping or not.
4. Enable Support for Long Path Using the Group Policy Editor
If the sub-folders inside the ZIP archive also have long names, then the renaming technique won’t work on your Windows 11 or 10 PC. If you use the Pro, Enterprise, or Education version of Windows, you can leverage the Group Policy Editor to enable the support for a long path. After doing that, you will be able to extract the ZIP file with names longer than 260 characters. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Press the Windows key to open the Start menu. Type gpedit.msc in the search bar and press Enter to open the Group Policy Editor.
Step 2: Navigate to the Computer Configuration section on the left-hand side. Click on the Administrative Templates option.
Step 3: Click on the System from the right pane.
Step 4: Scroll down and click on the Filesystem option.
Step 5: Find the ‘Enable Win32 long paths’ policy. Right-click on the policy and select the Edit option.
Step 6: Click on the Enabled option.
Step 7: Click on the Apply button and then click on the OK button.
Step 8: Close the Group Policy Editor.
Step 9: Restart your PC to apply the changes.
Try extracting the file and check if the error ‘0x80010135: Path too long’ appears or not.
5. Enable Support for Long Paths Using the Registry Editor
If you use the Windows Home version, you cannot access the Group Policy Editor. Instead, you must use the Registry Editor to enable the support for long file paths on your PC. But before doing that manually backup your registry and export it to a USB drive as a safety measure. After that, repeat the following steps:
Step 1: Press the Windows key to open the Start menu. Type regedit in the search bar and press Enter.
Step 2: The User Account Control Window will launch. Click on the Yes button to open the Registry Editor.
Step 3: Navigate to the address bar at the top, paste the following path, and press Enter:
Step 4: Hover to the right pane and locate the LongPathsEnabled value. Right-click on it and select the Modify option.
Step 5: Click on the Value Data text box and type 1 in it. Then click on the OK button.
Step 6: Close the Registry Editor window.
Step 7: Restart your PC to allow the changes to take effect.
6. Use a Third-Party Archiving Program
If you still can’t extract the ZIP file after enabling the long path support, use a third-party archiving program like WinRAR or 7-ZIP. These programs don’t have the 260-character limit and can help you unarchive ZIP files with long names successfully unless the files themselves are not corrupt. Here’s how:
Step 1: Download WinRAR.
Step 2: Run the setup file and install the app on your PC.
Step 3: Launch WinRAR and press Ctrl + O to launch the Open window. Browse the PC for the ZIP file and double-click on it to select it.
Step 4: Click on the Extract To icon.
Step 5: Select the extraction location and click on the OK button.
Step 6: Press the Windows key + E to open the File Explorer. Navigate to the location where you extracted the ZIP file to access its contents.
Extract ZIP Files With Ease
The ‘Path too Long’ error can obstruct you from accessing the archive contents. Restart the Windows Explorer process, rename the file, and try extracting it to the drive’s root directory. After that, enable the long path support on your Windows 11 PC or use a third-party archiving program as a last resort.
Last updated on 01 September, 2023
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