Cannot move or delete file in Windows

If you for some reason are unable to delete or move a file in Windows due to the errors that come up, then the following is an outline to a diagnosis.

1. I have found that most idiotic situations are when an HTML file is saved, but cannot be later moved or deleted because the total file path is too long. For example, the images which are saved are placed in a folder with a filename that of the html file, but that folder may contain sub-folders and / or files with long filenames. It is very easy to exceed the 256 character NTFS limitation if the file is not placed in the root of the hard drive.

In these cases, try one of the following:

a. Open the file, get the original address (this is saved as an html comment within the source of the html file, if getting the original URL address is not easy). Then save the file in the browser with a shorter filename.

b. Rename the folder accompanying the file. It can then be at least deleted.

c. If neither succeeds, move on to more drastic solutions outlined below.


2. A program which can take care of those situations when the file is locked is Unlocker. It can tell you which process has locked the file, and it can unlock the file for you. This program is also very useful when you cannot "safely remove" an attached storage device, because some program has locked a file. This program will tell you what the name of that program is. The program can also delete or rename a file if unlocking it first does not work. And as a last resort, the operation can be done during a reboot, before Windows starts.


3. If you run into file ownership issues, then look up on how to add 'Full control' to yourself, or how to take ownership of a file or a folder (make yourself the owner). If you run across a very stubborn file, try connecting that hard drive to a computer running Windows XP instead of Vista / 7.

˅˅˅ Additional valuable information is available at one of the links below: ˅˅˅


Did you like the article? Let Google Search know by clicking this button: . Please link to content that you find useful on this website on your own website, forum or blog! You can also comment on this page below, or to ask a question or suggest a topic for me to research. There is a user-editable Wiki available on my website, as well as a Forum that you can contribute to. Site Map.

Page last modified 08-Apr-12 21:05:47 EDT
Comments on this page: