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A friend sent a long a file (a .rar) he wanted me to check out for him before he installed it.

I downloaded it and unrared it with no problems, but it was full of .exe's instead of the intended contents (fonts) so I advised him to delete it immediately and not use.

I then proceeded to do the same, but the folder simply will not delete. Oddly the files went fine, and I never ran anything, but this is what I'm seeing:

Could not find this item

This is no longer located in C:\Users\This_User\Desktop. verify the item's
location and try again.

I've tried the following things with no help:

  • Using "Unlocker" to Unlock and delete
  • Using move on reboot and rebooting
  • Using PendMoves (from sysinternals) and rebooting Elevating a cmd line, doing a dir /x to get the short name of the folder, and then del 'shortna~1'
  • Moving the folder to a new folder and then trying to delete the parent folder

I'm on Windows 7 RTM, very fresh install. Any thoughts?

Update: Just to confirm, I've run Hijack this and half a dozen other malware detectors, and everything came back clean (no extra processes, no other obvious badness). Rebooting in safe mode didn't help either.

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Some part of the NTFS filesystem is damaged. I've had this issue. Never was able to fix it without a reformat. – Fake Name Jun 30 '10 at 5:39

16 Answers 16

I know you said that you tried deleting the shortname of the file and it didn't work for you, but it does work for some forms of this problem. It worked for me. So for the sake of completeness I am mentioning it here.

Step by step:

  1. press windows key + r
  2. type cmd.exe, press enter
  3. cd \to\the\folder\containing\the\problem\file
  4. dir /x
  5. Note the short filename of the problem file. It will look for example like BLAH~1.
  6. del BLAH~1
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Try the DelinvFile tool. It worked for me perfectly when NOTHING worked before.

BR, galmeida

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Boot into a Linux live CD environment and delete it with NTFS-3G?

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Ah ha!!! I did it!!! This was so annoying but after several hours... it dawned on me. Basically, you make a folder with the same name as the missing folder, then you drag the folder into the folder with the missing folder. Windows did not ask me to combine the folders, but after that, Windows knows where the folder is and you can delete it. I didn't try to copy and pasted I'm guessing that would work too.

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Isn't there a special character in the name of the directory? Like an "empty" character that looks like a space but is not a space?

Have you tried a "Check Disk", as the directory entry for that directory or its parent might be corrupted?

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This worked for me :

1. press windows key + r
2. type cmd.exe, press enter
3. rd /s "\\?\D:\bad\folder\path "

Notice the space at the end of "\\?\D:\bad\folder\path "

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Are you sure the folder is actually empty? There could be a file marked Hidden and Read-Only, or System in there. Windows could be blocking you from deleting because of the Hidden+RO or System file.

Haven't got a Windows 7 machine handy here, but in Vista you'd make sure that you can see all the files by opening Explorer, clicking "Organize", selecting "Folder and Search Options", then clicking the "View" tab. If you scroll down that screen you would see a "Hidden files and folders" option, make sure they're shown, then scroll down a little more to where it says "Hide protected operating system files" and make sure that isn't selected.

Now have a look at the folder and see if there's anything more in it.

Alternatively open a command window in the folder and type attrib see if any files show up (probably with SH or HR flags set on them).

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This is a problem with the desktop not being able to auto refresh. Like others have said, try pressing F5 to refresh because the file may already be deleted. Here's a thread on the same problem: The problem usually has to do with some program like WinRAR that copies files onto the desktop instead of Windows Exlporer.

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Before you do anything else, run some anti-virus and malware tools to make sure your machine is not infected with anything. You did open an unknown or possible untrusted rar.

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Was it a self-extracting rar? If so, those could potentialy be dangerous. – Troggy Aug 24 '09 at 17:49

Safe Mode is also something to try. That or if it's already too late, see if you can identify the process name, and use Hijack This to get rid of it.

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Try hitting F5 after you delete. It may be that it actually has been deleted but the view hasn't automatically refreshed. I had the same problem. Also newly created folders or renamed files wouldn't show up without refreshing. Unselecting the two navigation pane checkboxes under the general tab in folder options seem to fix it.

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Could it be that the full path of this directory is too long (>255 characters)? If so, try renaming the directory to something shorter and then deleting it.

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I had a similar issue, attempting to remove files I had copied across a networked bridge from an installed virtual machine. It seemed nothing I did would remove these: I tried the "Take Ownership Registry Hack", and the even more powerful "AccessGain MiniFilter Driver" ( Which in Windows 7 64-bit requires quite a concerted effort ( Inside the Windows 7 64-bit GUI, it seemed nothing would remove these files - I was stymied across every approach.

Finally, I reached into my quiver for an old trusted friend.

The Command Prompt

I was still booted in the "disabled driver signature enforcement session," that I mentioned above. The "AccessGain MiniFilter Driver" ( was installed and was giving me a superuser 'God-like' control over anything on my drive. At this point:

  1. I fired up an "Administrative Rights enabled Command Prompt," (
  2. Navigated to my Desktop. I used the command: "cd c:\Users\superuser\Desktop"
  3. (Note: Change the term "superuser" to your account name.)
  4. Looked to see if the files were present. I used the command "dir backup"
  5. (Note: All my files had the word "backup" in them. If different for you, replace term)
  6. Then I simply deleted the files. I used the delete command: "del backup"

When all else fails, pull up your sleeves and get your hands dirty with the trusted old command prompt... Hope this helps some of you. I was pulling my hair out on this one, and when I resolved it, thought it might be worth sharing.


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I was having the same problem. using delinv i was able to delete the folder(s)

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This problem (folders in Windows 7 containing executable files being inaccessible) is not a permission issue, nor an open-handle issue. It happens when the Application Experience service is disabled. Set the service to manual to resolve it:

Run dialog (or command prompt):

  > sc config AeLookupSvc start= demand
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I'm not sure if Windows 7 has Command Prompt. But you can delete it from Command Prompt. Go to the said directory and then use the command del against the file name.

  1. Go to Command Prompt "Windows + R"
  2. cd C:\Users\This_User\Desktop
  3. del ""

This should work.

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