Known Issue: (Windows only) Reading zip files on FME Server fails with long file paths

Liz Sanderson
Liz Sanderson
  • Updated

Note: this article applies to all versions of FME Server on Windows Platforms only.


When I run a workspace that contains a source dataset stored as a zip file I receive an error that the file could not be opened. Currently, FME Engine doesn’t report an explicit error stating the cause and instead falls back to a default error that FME is unable to open the file. Therefore the error will vary per format but examples include:

Geodatabase Error (-2147024893): The system cannot find the path specified.
Could not open File Geodatabase dataset `<filepath>' for reading

MITAB Reader: Failed to open and parse file '<filepath>'. Make sure that the file exists and is valid


Windows has a maximum path length restriction of 260 characters, therefore during the zip file extraction, if FME Engine encounters a long path that exceeds this limit, the process will fail.

If a source dataset path references a zip file, then FME Engine will extract this information into a temporary location to access the file required in the translation.

When the FME Engine service is run as a service account, the temporary location is %APPDATA%, for example, C:\Users\hcoxon\AppData\Local\Temp\fmeengines\<EngineName>

When FME Engine service is run as Local System, the temporary location is C:\Windows\TEMP\fmeengines\<EngineName>

For example if my Source Dataset is set to:


It will be extracted to:


When the name of the engine, zip file, any sub-folders and file to read push the overall length of this file path over 260 characters, then FME will not be able to read it and the translation will fail.


Option 1

Enable long path support following these instructions. This requires at least Windows 10 or Windows Server 2016. Once enabled this will allow for paths in length of up to 32767 characters or 1024 characters, respectively.

Note: Requires FME 2019.2.1 (build 19813) or later.

Option 2

Shorten the name of the zip file or sub-folders/file names contained within the zip to reduce the chance of reaching the 260 character limit.

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