Cannot Delete Files or Folders with Extended Characters

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Article ID: 131702 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q131702
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SYMPTOMS

You may not be able to delete, move, open, or otherwise access a file or folder. In Windows Explorer, some of the characters in the name of the file or folder are replaced with underscore characters (_). In addition, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
  • When you try to open a file in WordPad, you receive the following error message:
    <filename>
    This file cannot be found.
    Make sure that the correct path and filename are given.
    where <filename> is the filename displayed in Windows Explorer, not the actual filename.
  • When you try to delete a file in Windows Explorer or drag a file to the Recycle Bin, you receive the following error message
    Cannot delete <filename>: Cannot find the specified file. Make sure you specify the correct path and filename.
    where <filename> is the filename displayed in Windows Explorer, not the actual filename.
  • When you double-click a folder in Windows Explorer, you receive the following error message
    The folder '<foldername>' does not exist.
    where <foldername> is the folder name displayed in Windows Explorer, not the actual folder name.
In all cases, ScanDisk does not detect that a problem exists on the drive.

CAUSE

The name of the file or folder contains characters from the extended character set that cannot be converted to ANSI.

RESOLUTION

You may be able to delete or rename the file or folder using one of the following methods:
  • If you want to delete a file, try to delete the file using the DEL command and "*.*" wildcard designator. Note that this method deletes all the files in the folder containing the file you want to delete, so you should move all the files you want to save to a different folder first. To do so, follow these steps:

    1. Type the following commands at an MS-DOS command prompt. Press ENTER after each command:

      cd \
      md keep


    2. Copy all the files you want to save from the folder containing the file you want to delete to the KEEP folder you created in step 1.
    3. In the directory containing the file you want to delete, type the following command at an MS-DOS command prompt and press ENTER:

      del *.*
  • For files and folders, you may be able to delete or rename the file or folder using the "?" wildcard designator to represent the extended characters in the file or folder name. For example, if the first character in the filename README.TXT were replaced by a character from the extended character set, you could use the following command to rename the file back to README.TXT:

    ren ?eadme.txt readme.txt

    NOTE: The "?" wildcard designator is used to represent any character in the wildcard designator's position. Use caution when you use this method to make sure you do not inadvertently delete or rename files other than the intended file.
  • For files or folders, you may be able to delete the file or folder using the DELTREE command. To do so, change to the affected folder and type "deltree *.*" (without quotation marks). Confirm only the files and folders you want to delete. The DELTREE command removes files and folders without regard to extended characters in their names.
  • Use a disk utility such as Norton Disk Doctor from Symantec or PC Tools from Central Point Software to rename or delete the file.

MORE INFORMATION

The third-party products listed in this article are manufactured by vendors independent of Microsoft; we make no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding these products' performance or reliability.

Properties

Article ID: 131702 - Last Review: January 19, 2007 - Revision: 1.2
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows 95
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
kbenv kbprb kbui KB131702

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