Renaming folders is a basic function that many Windows 11 users perform regularly. However, there is a common issue where, when you try to rename a folder on the desktop or in File Explorer in Windows 11, you may encounter the error “Can’t find the specified file. Make sure you specify the correct path and file name.”
This error can be frustrating, especially if you’re trying to organize your files or folders. In this article, we’ll explore the possible causes of this error and what you can do to fix it.
What is the problem?
When you try to rename a folder in Windows 11, you may encounter the error “Can’t find the specified file. Make sure you specify the correct path and file name.” After clicking “Try again”, you will see another error prompt that says “The file or folder does not exists“.
This error can be caused by one or more of the following reasons:
- Corrupted registry keys: Certain registry keys may cause conflicts with the file or folder you’re trying to rename.
- Third-party antivirus software: Some antivirus software may interfere with the renaming process, leading to the error.
- Permissions issues: If your user account doesn’t have sufficient permissions to rename the folder, you may encounter the error. You may need to take ownership of the file or folder in order to rename it.
It’s worth noting that users experiencing this issue can still rename folders using Command Prompt, Windows Terminal, or Windows PowerShell. If you’re in a rush, you can rename your folders via CMD. Additionally, the error only occurs when you attempt to rename a folder. Users can still rename files without any issues.
How to fix “Can’t Find the Specified File” when renaming folders
Before attempting any of the advanced solutions, it’s a good idea to create a restore point in case anything goes wrong during the process. Creating a restore point allows you to roll back to a previous state if necessary. This is especially important because editing the Windows Registry can be risky and may cause system instability or even make your computer inoperable if done incorrectly.
Check the Basic Things First
Before you start trying the solutions below, there are a few basic things you should check first.
- Make sure the file and folder actually exist. Sometimes the error message appears because the file or folder has been moved or deleted.
- Try to restart Windows Explorer (explorer.exe) or reboot your computer and see if the issue can be resolved. If the issue persists, proceed to the following solutions.
Also see: How to Batch Rename Files in Windows 11
Try deleting the following registry keys
The “Can’t find the specified file” error when renaming folders is often caused by one or more corrupted, missing or incorrect permission settings of one of the registry keys in the FolderDescriptions branch. You can try deleting the following registry keys:
Please note that editing the Windows registry can be risky, and it’s essential to back up your registry or create a system restore point before making any changes. Incorrectly editing the registry can cause system instability or even make your computer inoperable. Therefore, it’s important to exercise caution when modifying the registry, and only make changes if you’re confident in your ability to do so.
To do this:
- Open the Registry Editor by pressing the Win + R keys, typing “regedit” in the Run dialog box, and clicking “OK.”
- Navigate to the following registry key.
- Locate the 5 registry keys mentioned above in the FolderDescriptions branch. Right-click on each key and select “Delete“. Confirm the action by clicking “Yes“.
Replace the FolderDescriptions registry key
If deleting the five keys mentioned in the previous solution doesn’t work, you can try replacing the FolderDescriptions registry key with a new one. To do this, you’ll need to export the FolderDescriptions registry key from another Windows 11 PC that doesn’t have the “Can’t find the specified file” error. Then, import the exported registry key to your own PC and restart your computer.
To export the registry key:
- Open the Registry Editor on the other Windows 11 PC.
- Navigate to the following registry key.
- Right-click on the “FolderDescriptions” key and select “Export.” Save the file to a USB drive or any other location.
To import the registry key:
- Copy the exported registry key to your Windows 11 PC.
- Double-click the registry file to import it into your registry.
- Restart your computer.
Check each registry key within the FolderDescriptions branch
“If you don’t have access to another computer with the same Windows 11 build to export the registry key, you can check each registry key in the FolderDescriptions branch on the problem computer to see if there is any key you can’t access due to permission or a key that is broken.
If you can’t access a registry key or change its permission due to an ‘Access is denied‘ error, you can take ownership of the registry key. For a detailed guide on how to resolve this issue, you can refer to this guide:: Windows Registry Key “Access is Denied” Error.
Check folder permissions
If your user account doesn’t have sufficient permissions to rename the folder, you may encounter the error. Here’s how to check and adjust folder permissions:
- Right-click on the folder you want to rename and select “Properties“.
- Go to the “Security” tab and check if your user account has the necessary permissions to modify the folder.
- If your account doesn’t have the required permissions, click on the “Edit” button, then “Add” to add your account to the list of users.
- Check the “Full control” box and click “Apply“.
- Try renaming the folder again and check if the error is resolved.
Renaming folders is an important task for keeping your files organized in Windows 11. If you are experiencing the ‘Can’t find the specified file’ error when attempting to rename a folder, there are several solutions you can try. These include checking the basic things, deleting problematic registry keys, replacing the FolderDescriptions registry key, and checking each key in the FolderDescriptions branch for issues.
In addition to the solutions provided, there are a few tips you can follow to avoid encountering this error in the future. These include keeping your Windows and applications up to date, running regular virus scans, and creating backups of your files to ensure that important data is never lost. Additionally, it’s essential to create system restore points from time to time to ensure that you can easily recover your system, including the registry, to a previous date in case of similar issues.