Windows 10 build 14352, a preview version of the upcoming Anniversary Update (also known as Redstone), comes with an eagerly-awaited change that Microsoft hasn’t yet announced publicly.

The 260 characters path length limit in Windows can be removed with the help of a new policy, thus allowing you to run operations with files regardless of their path or file name. While this new rule is not enabled by default, admins that turn it on by following these instructions.

Launch the Local Group Policy Editor by clicking the Start menu and typing “gpedit.msc” and then navigate to the following path:

HKEY_CURRENT_USERSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionGroup Policy Objects{48981759-12F2-42A6-A048-028B3973495F}MachineSystemCurrentControlSetPolicies

Look for an entry called “LongPathsEnabled” and if it does not exist, simply right-click Policies, select New DWORD (32-bit), name it “LongPathsEnabled” (without the quotes), enter value 1 and you’re good to go.

Apps need updates to support the change

The description of the new feature published in the policy editor provides us with more information about how it’s going to work:

“Enabling NTFS long paths will allow manifested win32 applications and Windows Store applications to access paths beyond the normal 260 char limit per node. Enabling this setting will cause the long paths to be accessible within the process.”

As you can see, Microsoft is making this change not only to Win32 software but also to Windows Store applications, as they’re playing an essential role for the future of Windows. Application manifests, which are mostly resources included in every executable file for compatibility reasons, will require apps to add a mention of this new policy, thus making sure that they support a path longer than 260 characters.

This means that unless it’s specified, the change won’t be supported, so apps will need to be updated by developers to benefit from this new behavior.

The feature is currently available in Windows 10 preview builds, but should become available on all systems with the debut of the Anniversary Update in the summer of this year.

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