Windows 10

How to Fix ‘Can’t Change Folder Name’ Error in Windows 10

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Highlights

  • Typical reasons like malware, outdated Windows, files open in another program, and third-party software interference may be why you can’t change your folder name.
  • Staying informed about file naming conventions in Windows 10 can help avoid future renaming issues, including tips on character usage and length restrictions.

What do I do if I can’t change folder name in Windows 10?

Quick Fix

  • Check if the folder is open or in use in another program. If it is, close it and try again.

Method 1: Restart your Windows Explorer

Restarting your Windows Explorer is a simple and often effective method of fixing the problem when you cannot change a folder name on your PC. This fix requires very straightforward steps to accomplish. The following steps will guide you:

  1. Open your Task Manager by simultaneously holding the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys.
  2. Locate Windows Explorer from the list, right-click, and hit Restart.
    Use task manager when you can't change folder name
  3. Finally, check to see if the problem has been fixed.

Method 2: Make sure that the file is not running in the background

A file running in the background is usually a common cause of changing a folder name error on your PC. You can confirm this using the Task Manager, and as soon as you discover it, you may close the app. The following steps will guide you:

  1. Launch the Task Manager by holding the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys.
  2. In your Task Manager, check to see if the file is running. If it is, right-click on it and hit the End Task button.
    end task on task manager when you can't change folder name
  3. Go back and try renaming your folder.

Method 3: Ensure that you have ownership of your folders

Ensuring you have administrative permissions on your folders will help resolve permission issues that may be causing the naming issue. Not having the appropriate permission will cause the system to disallow you from changing a folder’s name. Here are the steps to complete this fix:

  1. Locate the folder you want to access, right-click, and choose Properties.
  2. When the Properties window opens, click the Security tab and hit the Advanced button.
    open advanced under the security tab
  3. Then, verify the Owner section at the top and click on the Change link.
    click change to change owner info when you can't change folder name
  4. In the Enter the object name to select field, input the desired username or group, then hit the Check Names button.
    Enter the object name to select field
  5. Finally, tick the box next to the Replace owner on subcontainers and objects option and hit OK to save the changes you made.
    Replace owner on subcontainers and objects box when you can't change folder name
  6. Check to see if the problem persists.

Method 4: Disable Controlled folder access in Windows Defender

There are times when interference from other apps may lead to an error in changing a folder name. In some cases, some security software might be responsible for the interference. Disabling Controlled folder access in Windows Defender might just solve the problem.

  1. Hold the Windows + I keys simultaneously to launch the Settings app and choose Update & Security.
    Use update and security when you can't change folder name
  2. Then, choose Windows Security on the left side of your screen and click the Open Windows Security button on the right.
    Windows security in windows settings
  3. Afterward, choose the Virus & threat protection option and select Virus & threat protection settings.
    virus and threat protection
  4. Turn off the Controlled folder access toggle.
    turn off controlled folder access when you can't change folder name
  5. Finally, check to see if the problem has been fixed.

Method 5: Change view settings in File Explorer

If the above fixes did not solve your problem, try changing the view settings in File Explorer. This solution is a specific fix for view-specific glitches. The steps below will guide you:

  1. Launch the File Explorer by holding the Windows + E keys simultaneously, then locate the directory that holds the folder you want to rename.
  2. Then, navigate to the View tab.
    windows explorer view options
  3. Choose any other view except for Small icons.
  4. Finally, go back and try to rename your folder.

Method 6: Update Windows

Outdated OS can cause problems ranging from incompatibility to app crashes. When you update Windows, it will install the latest patches and current security updates, eliminating all bugs, potential compatibility issues and other errors. Here is how to do it:

  1. Hold the Windows + I keys simultaneously to launch the Settings app and choose Update & Security.
    Use update and security when you can't change folder name
  2. Then, hit the Check for updates button on the right-hand side of your screen.
    check for updates in windows settings
  3. If any update is available, download and install them.
  4. Finally, reboot your system and verify to know if the problem has been resolved.

Method 7: Perform a malware scan

Viruses can corrupt files, making them behave abnormally and throw various errors. One such error may include being unable to change a folder name on your PC. Scan your system to detect and eliminate hidden malware with trusted antivirus software. Use the following steps to complete this fix:

  1. In the search bar at the bottom of your screen, type Windows Security and click Open.
    open windows security when you can't change folder name
  2. When the Windows Security panel opens, choose Virus & threat protection.
    Access virus and threat protection when you can't change folder name
  3. Next, select Scan options.
    Open scan option when you can't change folder name
  4. Afterward, click the radio button next to the Microsoft Defender Offline scan option, and hit the Scan Now button.
    Scan now option
  5. Once the next prompt opens, click Scan.
    use microsoft defender scan when you can't change folder name
  6. In the UAC prompt, select Yes.
    click yes on Windows security uac prompt when you can't change folder name
  7. The scan will begin, and your system will restart.
  8. After the scan, check to see if the problem has been fixed.

Method 8: Tweak Windows registry

Windows store settings in a registry. These settings sometimes get messed up, thwarting renaming folder efforts. Editing the registry can fix these settings, but be cautious! A wrong move with this registry can cause other problems. The following steps will guide you:

a. Modify your registry

  1. Hold the Windows + R keys simultaneously, type regedit in the text field, and hit Enter.
    Regedit to open Registry Editor
  2. Click once on HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
  3. Then, navigate to the File tab and pick Load Hive.
    regedit load hive
  4. Locate your software hive, give it a new name, and load it.
  5. Once the hive is loaded, navigate to the path below.
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\your hive name\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FolderTypes
  6. Highlight the folder types, right-click on them, then choose Export.
    use regedit export when you can't change folder name
  7. Return to your hive name and close it.
  8. Then, open the File menu, select Unload Hive, and click on the Yes button.
  9. Next, close the registry, locate the registry file you just exported, and double-click on it to import it back into the registry.
  10. Finally, reboot your device and try to rename your folders again.

b. Remove some values from your registry

  1. Hit the Windows + R keys to launch the Run dialogue, type regedit in the field text, and hit Enter.
    Regedit to open Registry Editor
  2. Go to the path below.
    HKLM\Software\Microsoft\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Folder\Descriptions
  3. Next, delete the following keys below.
    {2112AB0A-C86A-4ffe-A368-0DE96E47012E}
    {491E922F-5643-4af4-A7EB-4E7A138D8174}
    {7b0db17d-9cd2-4a93-9733-46cc89022e7c}
    {A302545D-DEFF-464b-ABE8-61C8648D939B}
    {A990AE9F-A03B-4e80-94BC-9912D7504104}
  4. Following this process should resolve the problem.

9. Remove autorun.inf files

In rare cases, hidden autorun.inf files can stop you from renaming folders on your PC. These files might retain instructions that meddle with the process. Deleting them caution can sometimes fix the issue causing the issue and allow you to rename the folder.

  1. Launch the File Explorer by holding the Windows + E keys simultaneously and look for the directory whose name you want to change.
  2. Navigate to the View tab and check the box next to the Hidden items option.
    use windows explorer hidden items when you can't change folder name
  3. Locate autorun.inf and delete it.

10. Use a static picture as your background

Some users reported they successfully fixed the folder renaming issue by changing their computer’s background image. Give it a try by following the steps below:

  1. Right-click on your desktop and select Personalize from the menu.
  2. Replace your device background from Slideshow to Picture.
  3. After completing this, check to see if the problem has been resolved.

Why can’t I rename folders in Windows 10?

You might be unable to rename your folders for many reasons. Some of the most common causes are listed below.

  • Virus infection – If your device has been infected with a virus or your files have been infected, you will often face this problem. We recommend an efficient antivirus.
  • Outdated Windows – If your PC is running on an obsolete or faulty operating system, you won’t be able to change the folder name.
  • The file is opened in another program – If you cannot rename the folder, it might be because it is opened in another program in Windows 10.
  • Third-party anti-virus software – You might be facing this issue due to third-party anti-virus software installed on your device.

What are the file name restrictions in Windows 10?

Some of the file name restrictions on Windows 10 include the following:

  • Do not begin or end your file name with a period, space, underline or hyphen
  • Many operating systems are case-sensitive, so always use lowercase
  • Ensure that your filenames are not too long. Generally, they should be under 31 characters
  • Do not use underscores or spaces in your filenames; use a hyphen instead.

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Rebecca Ogbor
Rebecca is a co-owner of Fuzo Tech. She has dedicated herself to customer care, especially in tech, and she is a fine writer and tech consumer. She is bilingual (French and English) and is passionate about interactions and conflict resolution. She is passionate about her work and committed to delivering outstanding service to any organization.