Click here to Skip to main content
15,126,367 members
Articles / Programming Languages / Markdown


99 bookmarked

Zeta Long Paths

Rate me:
Please Sign up or sign in to vote.
4.86/5 (41 votes)
1 Oct 2018CPOL3 min read
A .NET library to access files and directories with more than 260 characters length

Quick access


This article describes a library that provides several classes and functions to perform basic functions on file paths and folder paths that are longer than the "MAX_PATH" limit of 260 characters. 


All .NET functions I came across that access the file system are limited to file paths and folder paths with less than 260 characters. This includes most (all?) of the classes in the System.IO namespace like e.g. the System.IO.FileInfo class.

Since I was in the need to actually access paths with more than 260 characters, I searched for a solution. Fortunately a solution exists; basically you have to P/Invoke Win32 functions that allow a special syntax to prefix a file and allow it then to be much longer than the 260 characters (about 32,000 characters).

The Library

So I started writing a very thin wrapper for the functions I required to work on long file names.

These resources helped me finding more: 

I started by using several functions from the BCL Team blog postings and added the functions they did not cover but which I needed in my project. 

Currently there are the following classes: 

  • ZlpFileInfo - A class similar to System.IO.FileInfo that wraps functions to work on file paths
  • ZlpDirectoryInfo - A class similar to System.IO.DirectoryInfo that wraps functions to work on folder paths 
  • ZlpIOHelper - A set of static functions to provide similar features as the ZlpFileInfo and ZlpDirectoryInfo class but in a static context 
  • ZlpPathHelper - A set of static functions similar to System.IO.Path that work on paths

Using the Code 

The project contains some unit tests to show basic functions. 

If you are familiar with the System.IO namespace, you should be able to use the classes of the library.

For example, to get all files in a given folder path, use the following snippet:

var folderPath = new ZlpDirectoryInfo( @"C:\My\Long\Folder\Path" );

foreach ( var filePath in folderPath.GetFiles() )
    Console.Write( "File {0} has a size of {1}",
        filePath.Length );

When using the functions, please do not encode the paths with the long path syntax (like e.g. \\?\C:\my\path) but pass them as normal paths like c:\my\path or \\myserver\myshare\my\path. The library itself decides whether a path has to be converted and does it automatically. 


  • 2016-09-27 - I've just discovered that .NET 4.6.2 now supports long paths natively. So if you are using my library you probably don't need it anymore if you target .NET 4.6.2 or above. (Or maybe it is not yet ready for prime time)
  • 2016-08-12 - First introduction of a .NET Core library (.NET Standard 1.6). See this NuGet package.
  • 2016-07-28 - Added functions to deal with short (8.3 "DOS") and long paths.
  • 2014-07-18 - Added functions like MoveFileToRecycleBin() to delete files and folders by moving them to the recycle bin.
  • 2014-06-25 - Also available on GitHub.
  • 2012-08-10 - Added several new methods.
  • 2011-10-10 - Fixed an error in ZlpFileInfo.Exists.
  • 2011-03-30 - Fixed a resource leak.
  • 2011-03-27 - Fixed an issue with WIN32_FIND_DATA.
  • 2011-02-22 - Added more functions.  
  • 2011-01-31 - Added functions MoveFile and MoveDirectory
  • 2010-03-24 - Added functions to get file owner, creation time, last access time, last write time.
  • 2010-02-16 - Maintenance release. 
  • 2009-11-25 - First release to  
This article was originally posted at


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Uwe Keim
Chief Technology Officer Zeta Producer Desktop CMS
Germany Germany
Uwe does programming since 1989 with experiences in Assembler, C++, MFC and lots of web- and database stuff and now uses ASP.NET and C# extensively, too. He has also teached programming to students at the local university.

In his free time, he does climbing, running and mountain biking. Recently he became a father of a cute boy.

Some cool, free software from us:

Deutschsprachiges Forum zu Elektromobilität und Tesla  
Windows 10 Ereignisanzeige  
German Developer Community  
Free Test Management Software - Intuitive, competitive, Test Plans. Download now!  
Homepage erstellen - Intuitive, very easy to use. Download now!  
Send large Files online for free by Email

Comments and Discussions

QuestionIJ Start Cannon Pin
Member 1405700216-Nov-18 4:51
MemberMember 1405700216-Nov-18 4:51 
PraiseThank you for pointing to .NET 4.62! Pin
LightTempler1-Oct-18 23:46
MemberLightTempler1-Oct-18 23:46 
QuestionLong Path Error Solution Pin
Member 1278856911-Oct-16 19:22
MemberMember 1278856911-Oct-16 19:22 
QuestionZeta Producer Pin
.dan.g.17-Sep-14 20:34
professional.dan.g.17-Sep-14 20:34 
AnswerRe: Zeta Producer Pin
Uwe Keim17-Sep-14 20:37
sitebuilderUwe Keim17-Sep-14 20:37 
GeneralRe: Zeta Producer Pin
.dan.g.17-Sep-14 21:57
professional.dan.g.17-Sep-14 21:57 
AnswerRe: Zeta Producer Pin
Member 1209804529-Oct-15 6:33
MemberMember 1209804529-Oct-15 6:33 
QuestionIs there a file rename function? Pin
datsspeed14-Feb-14 1:23
Memberdatsspeed14-Feb-14 1:23 
AnswerRe: Is there a file rename function? Pin
Uwe Keim14-Feb-14 2:59
sitebuilderUwe Keim14-Feb-14 2:59 
GeneralRe: Is there a file rename function? Pin
datsspeed14-Feb-14 3:09
Memberdatsspeed14-Feb-14 3:09 
GeneralRe: Is there a file rename function? Pin
datsspeed2-Mar-14 21:45
Memberdatsspeed2-Mar-14 21:45 
GeneralRe: Is there a file rename function? Pin
johannesnestler25-Jun-14 4:03
Memberjohannesnestler25-Jun-14 4:03 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Mauricevh24-Jan-13 2:21
MemberMauricevh24-Jan-13 2:21 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Hope W Lam9-Jan-13 5:27
MemberHope W Lam9-Jan-13 5:27 
BugPInvokeHelper.MAX_PATH bug Pin
drussilla5-Dec-12 4:51
Memberdrussilla5-Dec-12 4:51 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
JF201510-Aug-12 6:12
MemberJF201510-Aug-12 6:12 
Suggestionx64 Support Pin
Richard Y9-Apr-12 13:07
MemberRichard Y9-Apr-12 13:07 
GeneralRe: x64 Support Pin
Uwe Keim9-Apr-12 19:23
sitebuilderUwe Keim9-Apr-12 19:23 
GeneralRe: x64 Support Pin
Brisingr Aerowing1-Jul-12 9:21
professionalBrisingr Aerowing1-Jul-12 9:21 
GeneralRe: x64 Support Pin
mrdance6-Aug-12 23:51
Membermrdance6-Aug-12 23:51 
GeneralRe: x64 Support Pin
Uwe Keim9-Aug-12 19:59
sitebuilderUwe Keim9-Aug-12 19:59 
QuestionZlpDirectoryInfo Pin
Member 860610429-Jan-12 22:26
MemberMember 860610429-Jan-12 22:26 
Questionadd a column for file/path length in windows explorer Pin
Member 435848925-Aug-11 12:13
MemberMember 435848925-Aug-11 12:13 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
_groo_27-Mar-11 9:33
Member_groo_27-Mar-11 9:33 
GeneralRe: My vote of 5 Pin
Uwe Keim27-Mar-11 9:34
sitebuilderUwe Keim27-Mar-11 9:34 

General General    News News    Suggestion Suggestion    Question Question    Bug Bug    Answer Answer    Joke Joke    Praise Praise    Rant Rant    Admin Admin   

Use Ctrl+Left/Right to switch messages, Ctrl+Up/Down to switch threads, Ctrl+Shift+Left/Right to switch pages.