Can’t Rename, Move or Delete files Windows 10

I know the feeling where it is “Can’t Rename, Move or Delete files Windows 10”. This is a common problem and one that I have found to be really annoying. I will highlight those which I have managed to correct. Also how each one was very unique in their problem. Some I have deleted and the file returns. Others I could not delete and then also could not rename.

The correct advice on the internet was difficult to find so I will highlight them here. Some of the most common ones had been “Windows 10 – Administrator cannot delete or rename a file”. I know that feeling.

Can’t Rename, Move or Delete files Windows 10

There are a few instances so see what worked for you as they are for different problems.

File Name was Too Long

I make a PDF online of a webpage and when it saved the PDF it was a long file name. This file I could not delete as I did not know that there was a limit to the Windows 10 system with regards to the length of the name. I would have assumed that the website owner would have known this. In any event, I could not delete or rename the file. Windows cannot handle long path or extra long filenames. The limit is 255 characters for Windows 10 and 127 for Windows 95/98/ME. If you did not know this – welcome to the club.

The way to delete or rename this file is with a program called FileBoss which you can download there for the latest version. Once installed you open the program and navigate to where the file is located. From there you simply delete the file and it moves it to your recycle bin. The program is very easy to use. That got rid of this problem.

This appears to be a very common problem on Microsoft forums:

  • “File name too long” unable to rename or delete the file
  • Can’t rename move or delete files – Microsoft Community
  • Windows 10 – Administrator cannot delete or rename a file
  • Can’t delete or rename a folder – Microsoft Community

The FileBoss program solved that problem easy enough. It took me 2 minutes to find and delete the file. No special knowledge or process needed. Easy as can be, but it was a pain finding the solution as Google has become so useless as a search engine of late.

The File is in Use

This is also common as at times we forget that another program is open or running in the background. Without having to go through the Microsoft method there is an easy program to use. Microsoft should think of adding this as a standard tool. The program is call LockHunter. Simply download and install the program. Then [right click] on the file you cant delete and then click on [Whats locking this file]. It will then run a scan and tell you which program is using the file.

cannot delete or rename a file


File is Marked Read-only

The last issue is where the file is marked as read only. You can edit these files. You can [right click] on the file and then remove the dot in read-only in the properties. Normally you will need to be the administrator which most of us are. If there is still a problem with this then check if the file is not being held open by another program that does not allow you to change the file properties. See the part above where it explains the issues with a file being held open.


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About Tracey Brown

I develop websites and content for websites related to high tech from around the world. See more pages and content about technology such as USB and other IT developments around the world. You can follow the other websites as well and search this website for more information on mobile phones and other USB components.