[Fix] Cannot Rename or Move Folders in Windows 10, Due to Missing FolderDescriptions Registry Entries

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


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


(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.


(Fig 5) Clicking a nameless item shows the special folder GUID in address bar.

Solution

This happens if several registry entries are missing under the following registry key:

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

To fix the problem, download w10_folder_descriptions.zip, extract the contents to a folder. Double-click w10_folder_descriptions.reg to run it. This restores the default keys and values under the FolderDescriptions registry branch.

Note: 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, see article Fix: Unable To Rename Or Move Folders In Windows Vista)

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in the ITeS industry — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP [2003 to 2012] who contributes to various Windows support forums.

36 thoughts on “[Fix] Cannot Rename or Move Folders in Windows 10, Due to Missing FolderDescriptions Registry Entries”

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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!

  8. 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…

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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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