Fix Could not Find this Item While Deleting a File

Most of the time Windows shows a strange error message whenever you try to remove a file. The message reads “could not find this item” and it avoids you from removing the file. It’s really obvious you are trying to delete something that already exists on your machine however, the error says otherwise. Let’s now discuss Fix Could not Find this Item While Deleting a File.

Well, there are many reasons why your machine is failing in order to detect the file. Because it should and letting you delete it actually. When you fix these underlying issues, then you can get rid of the file from your PC.

Fix Could not Find this Item While Deleting a File

First, you have to make sure you refresh the screen by pressing the F5 key. This is to check if the file or folder really exists or not. Or if it has been already deleted via some program and only the ghost icon appears actually. If the file or folder still appears even after refreshing the screen. Then try one of these methods in order to delete the file or folder.

Remove the file or folder from Command Prompt

  • Tap and hold the Shift key and right-tap on the file or folder
  • ChooseCopy as Path in the context menu.
  • Then open a Command Prompt window (cmd.exe)
  • Then type the following command in order to delete the item:
    If it’s just a file:

    del [drive:\path\filename]

If it’s a folder:

rd /s /q [folderpath]

Using Command Prompt To Fix “Could Not Find This Item”

If you guys are having trouble via File Explorer to delete your file. Then one option is to use the Command Prompt. It has many commands in order to work with your file system and one of these also lets you remove files from your storage. You can also use these commands to retrieve your directory contents and then get rid of your chosen file from the list as well.

  • Just search for Command Prompt via Cortana search and tap on Run as an administrator in order to open it in admin mode.

could not find this item

  • Then in your Command Prompt window, just head to the directory where the file you need to delete is located. You should use the CD command followed via the directory path to get to your directory.
  • When you’re in your selected directory, then run the following command to see a list of all files in it.
    dir
  • You should also see the name of the problematic file in the list.
  • Then type the following command, tap Space, type the name of the file that you want to delete, and tap Enter. So to delete a file named myfile.txt, you would enter:
    del myfile.txt
  • If you guys are deleting a file that has spaces in its name, just enclose the file name along with double-quotes.

could not find this item

  • The file will be deleted without even a prompt.

Rename The File via Command Prompt Before Removing It

Most of the time the reason you get the “could not find this item” error is since your file name is too long to be handled by your system. Well, in that case, you can first shorten the name to remove the file.

You can also use the Command Prompt in order to rename your file as follows.

  • First, open a Command Prompt window with admin privileges on your computer.
  • Use the CD command in order to get to the directory where your file is located.
  • Note down the full name of your file because you will be using it in command.
  • Type the following command into the Command Prompt and press Enter.
    ren oldname.ext newname.ext
    ren – the short form for rename
    oldname.ext – replace this with the current name of your file actually
    newname.ext – replace this along with the new name for your file
  • When the file is renamed, use File Explorer in order to access and remove it. It should delete without any issues this time around actually.

Dealing with File or Folder Names ending along with DOT or Space

Whenever the file or folder name contains reserved characters. Or the names end with a dot (.), or space, removing the file or folder may also cause the above-said error. If you guys find (via DIR /X command) that the file or folder name has a trailing space or a dot (.) at the end. Then use the following syntax (“\\?\“) in order to delete the item:

In the Command Prompt window, just type:

Deleting a folder:

rd /s "\\?\D:\bad\folder\path "

(Also note the trailing space)

rd /s "\\?\D:\bad\folder\path."

(Also note the trailing dot)

Examples:

rd /s "\\?\D:\Shared\folder1 "
rd /s "\\?\D:\Shared\folder1."

Delete a file:

del "\\?\c:\path_to_file_that contains a trailing space.txt "

(Note the trailing space as well)

del "\\?\c:\path_to_file_that contains a trailing dot."

Delete Files That Have No Extension

Some of the problematic files have no extensions and this actually makes it really difficult in order to delete them from a Command Prompt window actually. Luckily, there i also s a command that you can use to remove all the files inside of a folder without knowing their extensions.

  • Just open a Command Prompt window on your PC.
  • Then navigate to the folder where your file is located via the CD command.
  • Now type in the following command and tap Enter.
    del *.*
  • All of the files inside the folder will be removed.

Delete The Folder that contains The File

If you guys still can’t delete the file and it keeps throwing the “could not find this item” error. You can then try to delete the folder rather. It deletes the folder as well as all files in it, also including the problematic file.

  • Launch a Command Prompt window on your computer.
  • Then type in the following command, tap Space, enter the full path to the folder that you want to delete, enclose it with double-quotes, and then tap Enter.

    rmdir /s

  • You guys will get a prompt asking if you really want to remove the folder. Type y and tap Enter in order to confirm your action.
  • You can also use the /q parameter along with the above command in order to skip the deletion prompt. It deletes the file without that ask if you really want to do it.

Kill The Process That is Using The File

There may also be a program running on your PC that is using your file in some way. In order to make sure it’s not the culprit. Then you should kill the program process with Task Manager and then try to remove the file.

  • Right-tap on your taskbar and choose Task Manager.

could not find this item

  • Tap on the Processes tab at the top.
  • Search the process that you think is interfering with your deletion process as well. Right-tap on it and choose End task in order to kill the process.
  • You can try to delete your file and it should delete without any issues.

Create An Archive and Remove The Files

If you guys have used WinRAR in order to create archives on your PC. Before, you probably know it permits you to delete your files after an archive is made actually. You can also use the same option to remove the file that keeps throwing the “could not find this item” error actually.

The idea here is basically to make a new archive via your problematic file and let WinRAR remove your file after the archive has been made.

  • Download and then install the WinRAR app on your PC.
  • Right-tap on the file that you wish to remove and choose to Add to archive. It also lets you create a new archive via selected files.
  • The following screen also lets you configure how your archive is created. You’ll also find an option there that says Delete files after archiving as well. Tick-mark the box, customize other options just the way you like and tap on OK at the bottom.

delete

  • It’ll then create a new archive that contains your file and your actual problematic file will be deleted. You can now remove the archive as well through right-tapping on it and choosing the Delete option.

Use DelinvFile remove The “Could Not Find This Item” Error

File deletion issues have long existed on Windows PC and there have been many apps in order to help you deal with them. One of these is DelinvFile and it also lets you remove files that you can’t delete by yourself.

You can also use it to get rid of the problematic files from your computer.

  • First of all, install the DelinvFile app on your computer.
  • Open the app and navigate to the directory where your file is located actually. Tap on your file so it’s selected.
  • Then tap on the button that says Delete File or Folder to start removing your file.
  • You’ll also see a prompt that will ask you to confirm your action. Tap on Yes in order to continue deleting your file.

Conclusion

You are good to go. If you have any queries and issues related to this article then let us know in the comments section below.

Also See: How to Add Programs Automatically to Windows 7 Startup Folders

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