“Item Not Found” error when deleting a file on Windows

3 Comments February 10, 2010

I ran into an issue today that I’ve hit before but never been able to solve – but since I really didn’t want to reformat the hard drive to fix it, I did a bit more research.

The basic issue was that I ran into a situation where a zero byte file has been created on a users Desktop (Running Windows 7) and when they tried to delete the file, it refused to comply, basically saying that the file didn’t exist.

I ran around a few ways, logging in as an administrator, trying to rename the file (same message) trying to cut and paste the file (same Message), trying to create a folder with the same name as the file then delete the folder (SAME MESSAGE)

I finally stumbled across this which, upon thinking about it some, made sense – I think the file was named with invalid characters and Windows Explorer couldn’t remove it.

This was the fix (from netfresco.com – http://netfresco.com/tech/item-not-found/default.aspx):

Solution for Vista's "Item not found" error when deleting or renaming files/folders

When you try to delete or rename a file/folder, you may receive a window that says:
"Item not found. Could not find this item. This is no longer located in [folder]. Verify the item's location and try again."

To solve, follow these steps:

  1. Open up a command prompt (run cmd.exe from the Start Menu).
  2. Navigate to the folder that the object resides in.
  3. Run "dir /a /x /p" to display the contents of the folder, including hidden files (/a) and 8.3 filenames (/x).
  4. Find the 8.3 filename of the object to the left of the regular, long filename.
  5. Run "ren <8.3 name>" to rename the object, "del <8.3 name>" to delete it if it's a file and "rd /s <8.3 name>" to delete it if it's a folder.
Note: If renaming to a long filename, make sure to enclose the long filename in quotations. If that fails, temporarily rename it to an 8.3 name and then rename it to what you want outside of the command prompt.

Quick, simple and most importantly, Fixed.


  • Gravatar Image
    Barry September 26, 2016 10:45 AM

    Thank You. Works perfectly

  • Gravatar Image
    Willie January 25, 2018 3:01 AM

    Thank You Very Much, finally this solution worked, after 3 days of searching for solution, Again I thank you