Sharefile Stopped Syncing – 260 Char limit

So my boss just informed me that the newly created report i made for a client was missing from his Sharefile folder.
Naturally he presumed that the software was working and that i must have forgotten about it so he decided to remind me.
However i had indeed placed the document in the correct folder, so naturally i blamed his eyesight.

Upon investigation he was proven correct, at least from his PC, and incorrect from mine.
And so we get to the issue –

If Sharefile stops syncing the user might be completely oblivious

This is a BIG problem. I’ve been working in IT for 10 years and would be comfortable with any technology that is thrown at me, especially something as simple as a dropbox like file sync tool.

So what was the issue and how did we find it?

Symptoms:

Files were missing from shared folders or not sync’d across devices.

Diagnostics:

The sharefile sync tool by the system tray showed no new symbol or icon on it to indicate an issue.
Below are the 2 symbols for Paused and In Sync, neither showed up on my client.

 

Syncing Paused

Syncing Paused

Sharefile In Sync

Sharefile In Sync

 

 

 

 

 

However the symbols on the Windows folders caught my attention. They appeared to be attempting to Sync. Under these i found several files with the same blue icon overlay.

Sync OK

Sync OK

Syncing

Syncing in Progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This made me think something was wrong, even though when i opened the Sharefile Sync Tool it showed no alerts or errors of any kind.
I did notice the Sync Logs link under the About Section and decided to look at those.

If in doubt, open the log files

This opened – C:Users%username%AppDataLocalTempShareFile and naturally there were a lot of log files.
Scanning through them by date and time i found “SyncEngine_yyyy-mm-dd_hh-mm-ss.log”
In here the issue was plain for all to read – A quick search for “Error or Error1”

[ c] 08/15 10:59:35:231 Error1: ShareFile.SFSync.SyncThread.RunSyncJob Sync job ID 3 failed with exception.
[ c] 08/15 10:59:35:231 Trace1: ShareFile.SFSync.SyncThread.RunSyncJob Exception:System.IO.PathTooLongException
[ c] 08/15 10:59:35:234 Trace: System.IO.PathTooLongException: The specified path, file name, or both are too long. The fully qualified file name must be less than 260 characters, and the directory name must be less than 248 characters.

The fully qualified file name must be less than 260 characters, and the directory name must be less than 248 characters.

Well now, you’d think this was worthy of a notice or a popup!!

The cause:

[ c] 08/15 10:59:34:856 Trace5: ShareFile.SFSync.Sync.RunSyncFromQueue Adding to _folderQueue: folder ‘C:UsersConorDocumentsShareFileCustomersCustomer_NameDesktop ReplacementProjectReq GatheringAppDNAAppDNA Reports 080813Windows Server 2008R2 and 64bitApplication Reports’

It seems i have too many subfolers. Now sure 260 char limit on file names is not new, however since Microsoft have resolved this limit by accessing files directly in explorer, as a user it would be expected to work in Sharefile. I am aware that this limiation is within the Windows API – http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa365247(VS.85).aspx

Maximum Path Length Limitation
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.

However given this known limitation this should clearly have a designed feature in Sharefile to notify the user of this. The lack of notification to the user which will result in them working away and perhaps even suffering data loss.

Citrix – One for the list.

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