Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Regarding the Long Path

I shared my post regarding the Windows long path dilema on the /r/sysadmin subreddit and on G and quite honestly there was quite a reaction. Thank you everyone who took the time to read my article, and I wanted to share something that /u/elkBBQ shared


I had a good chuckle, but on a more serious note. I learned quite a few things from the /r/sysadmin community but I did want to clarify for those who still believe that this is a limitation in the file system (NTFS), but let me tell you it is not. NTFS actually handles up to 32k characters on paths; however, Windows is not able to use it because of a limitation in its API, and while there is some ways to force it like using Unicode and other ways to get around the issue (see link below) there is no office or really a 'good' solution.

I wanted to share the following Article that explains a lot on this issue. The article is written by Kim Hamilton of the BCL Team and as (s)he explains in an answer to a comment:

We do need a solution in the underlying windows API, but this would most likely emerge as new APIs rather than changing the existing ones. We've discussed this at length on the longpath alias at Microsoft (yes, we have a whole alias devoted to the issue!) and there are no plans to change the existing ones, since it would break third party code that depend on MAX_PATH buffers on the stack.
We've discussed migration plans to enable those existing Win32 APIs not to enforce MAX_PATH but there are no clear solutions; this would need to be done very carefully to avoid breaking existing Windows-based apps.
The main reason I think we need new Win32 APIs is that \\?\ lumps together long paths and non-canonical paths, so you have to do tricks to get canonicalization on \\?\ paths. That sort of work shouldn't be pushed onto the callers just to achieve long paths.

Date: 13 Feb 2007 7:08 PM

Sadly in 2007 Microsoft believed this was an issue, and their team were working on a solution. It has been 7 years  and the issue still persists, and from what we know off there is no soon to come fix.

Kind regards to everyone,

PS. Below I'll post some of the most common work arounds for this issue:

Force Unicode: \\?\PATHHERE (please see the link above for details on how to use this method)
Con: Not widely supported

Map a drive or use subst to map a drive.
Con: Unfortunately the only way to get this to work would be to know the exact path. You'll have to map the drive to a subfolder that is close to the one that breaks the limit. Also doesn't play very well with scripting.

Someone (and I apologize I cannot find the user who posted this on the reddit post)  recommended to use VBScript; however, I do not posses this skill, so if someone could show us a way for this that'd be awesome!

Peter Kriegel pointed me to a PowerShell Module called  File System Security PowerShell Module 3.2.2 but I'm not familiar with it and haven't had a chance to look deep into it as to try to find out who they manage to make it work. Again if someone has some information that they can provide regarding the inner workings, or if indeed truly works I'd appreciate the information. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


So I worked on this script for a few hours yesterday

$drive = "F:\"
$fileName = "C:\Audits\FDrive_Audit_$((Get-Date -Format d).Replace(" ","_").replace("/","-").Replace(":",'-')).csv"
$ACL_Report = @()
$Stack = New-Object System.Collections.Stack

function getPermissions($folder)
    $ACL_Report = @()
    foreach($reference in (Get-ACL $folder | %{$_.Access}))
        $aclObj = New-Object psobject
        $aclObj | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Name 'Path' -Value $folder
        $aclObj | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Name 'Account' -Value $reference.IdentityReference
        $aclObj | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Name 'Access' -Value $reference.FileSystemRights
        $aclObj | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Name 'Inherited' -Value $reference.IsInherited
        $aclObj | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Name 'Inheritance' -Value $reference.InheritanceFlags
        $aclObj | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Name 'Propagation' -Value $reference.PropagationFlags
        $ACL_Report += $aclObj
    $ACL_Report += " "
    $ACL_Report | Export-Csv $fileName -NoTypeInformation -Append

function create-Queue($currentFolder)
    foreach($folder in (Get-ChildItem $currentFolder -Directory))
        getPermissions $folder.FullName
        create-Queue $stack.Pop()
create-Queue $drive

The script is intended to go through every path in a directory and get all of the permissions of the folders, and export them into a CSV. Surprisingly enough, the script itself works great too; however, i came to the sad problem of paths being too long and not getting all of the permissions. I've looked at this from a long of angles and feel like I've ran out of Google power here. If someone has an idea of how to get this done, that doesn't include running a Robocopy first to get the paths. Please share with me. Kind regards, Me.

Path is too long

I believe that I should let everyone know that once again Microsoft has not fixed the path is too long issue in his newest release Windows X.

I been deal with this atrocious issue every now and then when writing scripts that run against our file servers, and I must say its a real pain in the rear. I pray one day this will be fixed.

Good day to all.

Edit 9/16/2015: I'm not sure why the pictures are gone. I'll try to replicate the issue once again and repost them soon.

Edit 1/16/2016: I finally took the time to recreate the error and re-upload the picture.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Don't learn many, become an expert at one!

Today I was reading this article. It was talking about the main differences between PHP and .NET what one should learn, and let me tell you something I wish I had read it back when I was younger. 

I took Programming I and II in High School and then again in College, but unfortunately I don't think I ever learned much. Yeah I learned syntax and learned some of the logic behind programming, but nobody ever told me what was said in this article:
"There are benefits to learning either PHP or .NET. Should you learn both? If you’re new to programming, the answer, I think, is No: At an early stage in your career, you need to focus your energy on getting very good at one thing, which will translate into higher-paying jobs down the road. If you try to go to broad, you will stretch yourself thin and not master anything. (I made that mistake early in my career, and it started hurting my job prospects—employers tend to distrust resumes that list hundreds of technologies in which the applicant is supposedly an expert.) Pick one thing and be great at it!" - Jeff Coswell

In this quote he specifies something very important that I wish to pass to anyone starting with programming: Don't learn multiple languages, learn one and become an expert at it, then switch to other ones if you want to. I wish very much wish someone had told me this, but because nobody did, I ran around through most of my amateur days learning Ruby, Java, C++, C#, Python, Perl, even looked at Haskell and learned a lot of the syntax but in reality I learned nothing because I was never an expert with any of them.

I felt strongly that this needed to be shared because I don't think its quite common knowledge. For example, in college Programming I was Introduction to Java, Programming II was introduction to C++, and Programming III was cancelled due to not having enough students sign up, but I believe it was introduction to C#. 

So hear my advice: If you enjoy programming and would like to pursue a career in this field, you need to pick a language, and preferably once that is common enough that you can make a living with, and become an expert. If you then decide you would like to try something else then your transition will be much easier. 

If not you'll probably end up like me learning a lot of syntax and not knowing much.

Good luck if you are starting, and if you are an experience developer please let me know what you think, or if you also went through something like this in your earlier days.