How to Delete Undeletable Files in Windows? The “Could not Find This Item” Error

Posted in Misc. on 24 August 2010 35 comments

Two undeletable files appeared on my desktop last week, no matter how hard I try to delete/copy/move them away, it can’t seems to work. After searching online, I found the way to delete them. I am going to rewrite the steps here, in simpler step-by-step guide, how you can delete those files:

  • Hold down Windows key + R to open the Run windows
  • In the input area, type in “cmd” to open “Command Prompt”
  • In command propt, you will see lines like “C:\Users\Your NAME>”
  • My undeletable file was located at desktop, so I type “cd desktop”
    So, my path is now “C:\Users\Your Name\desktop\”

    If your file is in desktop/folder1, you should type “cd desktop\folder1″

    If your file in in local disk C or D and you would like to start browsing from there, type “cd C:\” or “cd D:\”

  • Once you are in the correct folder or path, type “dir /x” and you will see a list of all files and directories
  • Each files and folders were given a shorter name. For example, my shortcut file “Google” was given a name called “GOOGLE~1.INK”
  • Now we will start deleting the undeletable file. For example, to delete the shortcut file, I type “del GOOGLE~1.INK”
    which is basically “del” followed by a space followed by the shorter file name.
  • It should be gone by now. So, who says it is undeletable :)


Posted by Zen on 24 August 2010 • 199,101 visits 35 comments

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Carrie Lewis says:

I hate when that happens! Good post, I never knew that and I have been using Windows machines forever. LOL :-P

gopher65 says:

Thanks! I’ve had a bad file created by MuseScore (a free sheet music creation program) on my desktop for a couple months now, and this fixed it.

I used DOS back in the day and I’d actually briefly considered using cmd prompt to try and delete the file, but I didn’t think it command prompt could do anything that the windows GUI couldn’t do. Now I know better:P.

This was in Win7 64-bit btw, so this probably works in any version of Windows.

WUKONS says:

Yeah,thank’s! It work’s! =]

Mehdi says:


Jack says:

Worked great, thanks so much!

iewaLT says:

Damn, an I the only one for who it didn’t work ?
My file which is name Tron.Evolution. isn’t even displayed there in cmd. I have win7 32bit. What did I do wrong ?

mee says:

this is very helpful

Marion says:


I need your help i tried to download a photo from the web and he downloaded alle the fotos from that web page
I could delete all of the icons exept 2 :-(

they are located on the desktop the names are

I can not delete them or move them
the icons are white

I am not a computer person so please if you have any idees please let me know

thanks a lot

Marche90 says:

Man, you’re AWESOME, worked like a charm :D

Selena says:

Oh man, thanks so much! I’ve never had this happen to me before, so having those two stupid files stuck in that old folder on my desktop was driving me nuts, and everything else I saw to try to fix it looked to complicated/dangerous to try.

Auwen says:


AD Salmon says:

Help if you can… I was hopeful this was going to work based on all the positive feedback and success from others on this posting. I have seriously been to dozens of sites (many of them multiple times) downloaded “unlocker” and several other similar items multiple times all with the hopes of removing two stubborn folders on my desktop. All the posts I have read start with the same story and or problem. This HAS to be fixable! For what ever reason I can’t remove these two folder.. Please Help. This is SO annoying…

Salman says:

You should try this tool it will surely help you out

jatin singh says:

wow, man you are the best in the world….yes its work………thanx my friend you are amazing………..:)

Rootbeerz says:

Please reply back. I tried this and after i tped in y and entered it did not work and it is still there. I tried doing it again then restarted my computer. ITS STILL THERE. . . . Please help the name is GREEN SCREEN and i have windows 7 64-bit VAIO laptop and i run as admin. I try to delete it normally but it says this file is no longer located in C:\Users\*******\Desktop. Verify the item’s location and try again.

Date created:2/21/2011 3:44 PM


Brooke! says:

I’ve been stuck with this blank picture for about 5 months now, I just left it but I’m soo happy it’s gone c:
Thanks a bunch!

fiona says:

Thank you so much dude! thanks thanks thanks :)

DEREK says:

This is best and easys way You are great ZEN

giramondo says:

Awesome! Do you know the explanation for this?

anon says:

I have used unlocker and sdelete in the past and they have served me well. This time though, they couldn’t do the job.

dir /x worked!

Much appreciated.

eric says:

Thanks so much! This worked perfectly. I was about to go nuts.

JCeasf says:

Does not work for me, Windows 7

Julia says:

Awesome! Worked perfectly! Thanks^^

chris says:

This does not work on folder names.

I have Win 7, 64.

In my C drive there is a folder c;\1

In that folder I have two subfolders which will never go away (months now)

C:\1\Business words [dir /x BUSINE~!]


C:\1\Compelling conversations [dir /x COMPEL~!]

Page after page in the internet is devoted to deleting FILE NAMES but not folders like this.

And now they want to offer us Windows 8 upgrades for less than $ 50 so we’ll never see free service packs again. Instead we’ll be paying for them as new beta operating systems.

WTF Microsoft and Bill? I’ve given you tens of thousands of dollars since DOS and through every Windows OS and every version of MS Office, and Visio and Visual Studio, etc, etc, etc.

Microsoft if you want to impress me don’t give billions away to charities, get the Windows operating system into every emergency room, every air traffic control tower and while you’re at it give us one that works just for the simple home users who’ve paved and lined your life in silk.

Alex says:

Thank you very much. This was helpful.

Umar says:

I have a zero byte file on my desktop but prob is this is without any extension .. what do to? …. when i see director with dir /x it shows extension of other files but not that file .. anybody please help with this?

renz0302 says:

thanks, really!! it worked!!!

ADRI says:

Doesn’t work for me… says file is in use.

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