Fix: Cannot Rename or Move Folders in Windows 10 – The File or folder does not exist

When you try to move or rename a folder in Windows 10, the errors Can’t find the specified file, and The file or folder does not exist occur. Also, duplicate icons with no text appear for special folders, namely Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, and Videos under This PC section in File Explorer.

Cannot Rename or Move Folders in Windows 10
Can’t find the specified file. Make sure you specify the correct path and file name.
Cannot Rename or Move Folders in Windows 10
The file or folder does not exist.

(Fig 1 & 2) Errors when renaming a folder.

Cannot Rename or Move Folders in Windows 10
Can’t find the specified file. Make sure you specify the correct path and file name.

(Fig 3) Error “Interrupted Action” – “Can’t find the specified file” when moving a folder.


(Fig 4) Duplicate icons appear for special folders, containing no text.

Cannot Rename or Move Folders in Windows 10
(Fig 5) Clicking a nameless item shows the special folder GUID in address bar.

In addition, the following symptoms may be observed:

  1. Unable to move folders to a different location, nor be able to restore deleted items from the Recycle Bin.
  2. Unable to launch special folders using the Shell: command. For example, when you run the command shell:My Music, you may receive the following error:
    Windows cannot find ‘shell:My Music’. Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again.

Fix: Cannot Rename or Move Folders in Windows 10

If you’re unable to rename or more folders in Windows 10, it’s caused due to missing registry entries under the FolderDescriptions registry key. To fix the problem:

This restores the default keys and values under the FolderDescriptions registry branch below:



HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FolderDescriptions

The above key is like a template which stores various settings and GUIDs for shell folders in Windows. It tells the shell how to parse special folders when you use File Explorer or shell. The shortcut shell: commands (aliases) we use to open special folders directly, come from the FolderDescriptions key.

Important

Please do not run the registry file in other versions of Windows.

For Windows 8.1, download w8_folder_descriptions.zip, unzip and run the enclosed .reg file.

For a Windows Vista version of this fix, download vista_folder_descriptions.zip.

See also The file or folder does not exist” error in Windows


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About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.

42 thoughts on “Fix: Cannot Rename or Move Folders in Windows 10 – The File or folder does not exist”

  1. Man this aint working for me!

    I installed Wise Care 365 and performed registry cleaner tools from that program, and it basiclly ruined my laptop, It changed all the paths on HKEY_CLASSES and messed up things there. I cant no longer copy or paste or rename folders, i cant neither refresh or update my laptop. Im using windows 8.1 64bit upgraded from win shop, My laptop is an Acer V5.

    I checked all the solutions on whole google but none of them seems to work for me, if u have any suggestions or any question about my case, feel free to comment and share ur opinion, God Bless.

  2. Checked several blogs, threads. Yours was the only fix that works. I get an error at the end of running the file, but it worked and now I can move and rename folders again. Thanks!

  3. This was pretty frustrating. I found one other fix but it made no sense and I wasn’t going to risk mucking up my registry even more than it obviously already was (been there, done that), your fix was quick, easy and VERY appreciated.

  4. Any ideas what to do if you if you get this error when running the reg?

    Registry Editor

    Cannot import C:\{etc\etc}\w10_folder_descriptions.reg: Not all data was successfully written to the registry. Some keys are open by the system or other processes, or you have insufficient privileges to perform this operation.

    I spot-checked permissions under both HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FolderDescriptions and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FolderDescriptions and appear to have full control both as User as Administrator and just User.

    • @Steve: It’s normal. last I checked it couldn’t update 3 registry keys. Regardless, the original problem should be resolved after a restart.

  5. I also got the same message as Steve when I tried this fix:

    Cannot import C:\{etc\etc}\w10_folder_descriptions.reg: Not all data was successfully written to the registry. Some keys are open by the system or other processes, or you have insufficient privileges to perform this operation.

    Any other suggestions?

    • @CJC: The error can be ignored, as it can update 3 protected keys. Pls reboot after running the fix.

  6. yep – works. do it – then restart computer

    you may get this message – ( IGNORE IT- JUST DO A
    RESTART )

    Cannot import C:\{etc\etc}\w10_folder_descriptions.reg: Not all data was successfully written to the registry. Some keys are open by the system or other processes, or you have insufficient privileges to perform this operation.

    THANKS

    DC

  7. Thank you, the problem was fixed, I download w10_folder_descriptions.zip, extract the contents to a folder. Double-click w10_folder_descriptions.reg to run it. Yes, it restored the default keys and values under the Folder Descriptions registry branch.

    Thank you

  8. Thank you very much for your efforts. Your Fix worked for me as well. There are myriads of useless hints on this problem on the net, from sfc /scannow to even an Inplace Upgrade. But your fix does the trick without re-installing the entire OS. That is brilliant, thank you once again!

  9. The Win 8.1 registry fix worked for me, thanks.

    The “unable to rename folder, name not found” problem tends to occur on my Win 8.1 system after Windows Updates which I now run manually for various reasons. I set Recovery checkpoints before doing updates these days which helps unwinding particular updates that trigger the defect. I just wish it wasn’t necessary…

  10. I encountered this problem now on the second of my computers. Seems that some Windows 10 update messes up the Folder Descriptions in the registry.

  11. Omg, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS FIX, this problem was driving me crazy as I spent a long amount of time and haven’t been able to fix it until I found your site. once again thank you so much

  12. god bless!!!

    what in heavens name would they such a mistake…

    i was going crazy with a new computer not being able to rename / save.

    thanks

  13. After TWO months of searching for a solution, this one WORKED! Thanks so much, Ramesh! Also thanks to those who posted comments verifying this fix and what to expect:
    – I’m using Windows 8.1 PC desktop,
    – Downloaded the Win8 zip folder from the above link,
    – Right-clicked on “w8_folder_description.reg” file inside and selected “Merge” at the top of the list of options,
    – In seconds, saw the error message saying some files couldn’t be open or installed,
    – Rebooted my computer to find all my folders can now be renames and moved to other folders/directories! So grateful to not have to reset and rebuild from scratch ..
    – I’m experiencing minor bugs with MS Office but expect them to go away once I re-install the program. – Jan 9, 2019

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