Use 7-zip to extract zip files with file paths greater than 255 characters

The file compression program 7-zip can help you extract data from zip container files which have folder structures which will result in file paths longer than the 255 character limit for Windows Explorer.

While the extraction tool for Windows Explorer will not extract files with paths longer than this limit and will prompt you to skip over them, 7-zip does not have this limitation.

See this comparison of files extracted from the same source zip file with email data from the publicly available Enron data set.

The set extracted with Windows Explorer contains only 7629 files, while the set extracted with 7-zip contains 9546 files, the complete total from the original file.

In this directory we can see the gaps in the numbered files in the set extracted with Windows Explorer for the longer file names:

7-zip will also complete the extraction in a fraction of the time required by Windows Explorer.