Deleting the Undeleteable

Have you received the error message “This is no longer located in ….” in the past but you know for a fact that the file or folder is where it claims it is not?

I’ve had this frustrating error occur multiple times since switching to Windows 7 (upgraded from Windows XP, where I encountered this problem maybe once or twice in roughly 10 years.)

After many Google searches and digging through troll-filled Help forums and Tech blogs, I have come across a solution. I’m hoping this page surfaces as an easy “go to guide” for solving the problem.

If you’ve seen the following error message and can’t wrap your head around why it claims it’s not where it’s located, even though it’s obviously there, then this blog post is for you!


Good News!

You don’t need to be a “techie” in order to follow this guide. You do however, need to be able to follow instructions.

Step #1: Open the command prompt

Click on your start menu, and click Run. Type in “CMD”

You’ll see the command prompt application on the list, you’ll need to run this as an Administrator. To run a program as an Administrator, right-click on it and select Run as Administrator, as seen in the image below:

Step #2: Change to the proper directory.
You can change directories by typing in: cd [file path]

If the file or folder you need to delete is not on the C-drive, like in my example, you’ll want to type in “E:” to switch to the E-drive. Change the “E” to whatever drive you need to switch to.

Step #3: View all contents of directory

You can view all the contents of the directory by typing in: dir /a /x /p

This will show you all contents of the directory you are currently viewing, as seen below.

You should see the affected file or folder listed on the results of the command.

Step #4:Rename the affected file or folder
Rename a file or folder by using this command: ren [current name] newname

For my example, the command was: “ren CANTDE~1 “DeleteMe”

This will rename my undeletable folder from “cantdelete” to “DeleteMe”

Step #5: Delete that pesky file or folder!

Good luck, and ask questions in the comments! This tutorial was done in Windows 7 but the directions should be similar for Windows XP and Windows Vista.

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I'm a Web Developer and SEO located in Albany, New York. I enjoy camping, video games, web design, and zombies.