Skip to main content

Enable NTFS or Win32 long paths policy to remove the 255-260 characters limit in Windows 10


If you’re a Windows developer, system administrator or seasoned user, there’s  good chance you’re fully aware of the 255-260 character limit of filesystem paths. However, in case you never heard about it, here’s a small recap of the issue:

In the Windows API (with some exceptions discussed in the following paragraphs), the maximum length for a path is MAX_PATH, which is defined as 260 characters. A local path is structured in the following order: drive letter, colon, backslash, name components separated by backslashes, and a terminating null character. For example, the maximum path on drive D is “D:\some 256-character path string<NUL>” where “<NUL>” represents the invisible terminating null character for the current system codepage. (The characters < > are used here for visual clarity and cannot be part of a valid path string.) [extract from this MSDN official guide].

If you’re a standard user, chances are you won’t get bothered by this limitation: who needs these long paths anyway? However, if you happen to be a developer working with linux-native package managers such as NPM, you will be struck by that issue sooner or later. That’s because there are many popular script-based libraries which make an intensive use of folder-nesting: AngularJS, Angular2, React and SystemJS, just to throw out some good examples. If you use them with Visual Studio 2015, which will adds their solution/project folder structure to the loop, the chance of hitting that limit will be even higher.



How to unlock a file handle locked by SYSTEM or any other active process in Windows

The scenario we’re about to introduce is an unbeatable classic for anyone working with Windows. You need to move, rename or delete a file and – as soon as you try to do that – you’re greeted by the following popup message:

File in Use. The action can’t be completed because the file is open in another program.

Or maybe this one:

The action cannot be completed because the file is open in SYSTEM.

If you’re an experienced Windows user you most certainly know that, when you see something like this, it usually means that there is a running application which still has that file opened in an exclusive mode – thus locking it from any IO write operations: no rename, no move and certainly no delete. Whenever that’s the case, the fix is right around the corner: you close the offending application – be it MS Word, MS Excel, MS Access, Photoshop and so on – then go back to the file and do whatever you want with it. Problem solved!

What to do when there are no active applications that seems to be locking that file? As soon as you are sure about it you can focus your attention to other Windows processes, such as some active services that could have it open: Antivirus software, Database services, Source Control Managers, Software Optimizers, Backup Tools, Firewall/security systems and so on. Again, if you’re a seasoned Windows user, you will have no problem to figure it out soon enough.

However there is always a small chance that, after you spent a reasonable amount of time checking and/or temporarily shutting down your resident software, you would still have absolutely no idea of what process is actually keeping that file open. Whenever this happens, you’re going to equip yourself with a few freeware tools that might really help you fixing your issue for good.



Windows Explorer & Explorer.exe crash, desktop freeze and taskbar gone – How to fix them all without rebooting

Regardless of you being system administrators, software developers or Windows users, you’ve certainly witnessed Windows Explorer / Explorer.exe crash a number of times. Whenever this happens, most of the time the Windows GUI will have their issues as well – the desktop would freeze, some windows would become unresponsive or “white”, icons and/or taskbar would disappear, the mouse will cease working. These glitches will stay for a number of seconds, then they will either disappear – due to an automatic shutdown & recover of the Windows Explorer / Explorer.exe process, assuming Windows acknowledges the fact it got a problem – or stay there until you reboot the system. Which often sucks, since you’ll be forced to abandon what you were doing and the wrecked GUI won’t always give you the chance to save your stuff.

You’ve probably noticed that this sad scenario often occurs when we’re working with network folders, paths and/or drives which suddendly disappears or become unavailable, maybe because the server goes offline or crashes: these network-based IO operations are more than often what makes Windows Explorer / Explorer.exe crash or go through long, sometimes unrecoverable timeouts. When this happens, you’re often left with two choices: wait for Windows to recover the process by itself (see above) or manually killing it with  CTRL-ALT-CANC > Task Manager > Processes -> Kill.



How to get rid of MailPoet’s automatic new users auto-subscribe feature (and make the 2000 subscribers limit work as it should)

If you’re a WordPress enthusiast you’ve probably heard about MailPoet, formerly WYSIJA: to say it in a nutshell, it’s a WordPress plugin for manage newsletters. It’s being used by thousands – if not millions – of WordPress-based websites worldwide, because it delivers a ton of useful newsletter-handling features which nobody else have.

I like MailPoet. I really do. I actively use it in a number of WordPress blog I’m running and/or in charge of, including this one. Some of them are small, some are big: for the bigger ones – thousands of users and subscribers – I even had the owner purchase the premium license, not only because a product that’s so good deserves it, yet also because… well, because they need to, as the free version license has a limit of 2000 subscribed users. There’s also an hard-coded limit that checks the counter, so if your blog grows you’ll eventually have to pay for that.

I really like MailPoet… except for one thing: the fact that they try their best to make you think you need to pay for their product, even if you clearly don’t.



Nintendo Switch – Press Conference & Official 2017 Trailer

January 13, 2017, at 5:00 o’clock in the morning CET, Nintendo finally unveils their new console with a stunning 1-hour-long press conference featuring a whole lot of insights about the product and also many interesting trailers of the upcoming games, such as: Splatoon 2, Super Mario Odissey, Xenoblade 2Shin Megami Tensei and Breath of the Wild.

The first to talk is the Nintendo president Kimishima, who – after a brief introduction about the good feeback received by the promotional trailer released in October – shares some info about the console release dates: we can most likely expect the official launch on March 3 2017 for Japan, USA, Canada and (hopefully) Europe. As for the price, we’re talking about 29,980 yen for the Japanese market, 299.99$ in USA and – arguably – 299,99 € within the EU. Online services will be free for the first months, then they’ll switch to a monthly fee by the end of the 2017.