General discussion

"Cannot rename folder:Access is denied". Why?

The rest of the message says "Make sure the disk is not full or write protected and that the file is not in use"

In Folder:Properties, the file shows as 'Read Only'. Unticking this box followed by the option to do the same for all folders and subfolders, then using 'Apply' was unsuccessful, as when I tried to rename the folder after doing this,the message reappeared, and the folder was again 'Read only'.

As Administrator, my understanding is that I have full permissions under the Security section of Properties, which appears to be the case, as all boxes are ticked.

The path is as follows:- C:FOLDER:Subfolder1

Sub..1 cannot be renamed. It contains four additional folders, (each with loads of subfolders),of which 3 can be renamed, whilst the fourth one cannot, with the same "Access denied..." message appearing.

Sub...1 is a large folder (~25Gb), and my hard drive shows 58.8Gb free space.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but I've tried to include everything. I'm not that clued up, so may have missed something obvious to others.

Hope someone can help.

Discussion is locked
Reply to: "Cannot rename folder:Access is denied". Why?
PLEASE NOTE: Do not post advertisements, offensive materials, profanity, or personal attacks. Please remember to be considerate of other members. If you are new to the CNET Forums, please read our CNET Forums FAQ. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Reporting: "Cannot rename folder:Access is denied". Why?
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
- Collapse -
Admin gets to follow the rules too.

Let's get this cleared up fast. Admins are not Gods. They can change permissions, take ownership but must obey read-only and things such as "permissions."

Yes, again you can change permissions but an Admin account does not mean the rules are put aside.

To fix this, google "XP TAKE OWNERSHIP."

- Collapse -
Oh dear...

Oops, sorry - I seem to have touched a raw nerve here. However, thanks for your comments and suggestion.

As I said, I'm not too clued up, and am merely seeking a solution to my problem, and hopefully the reason why it occurred. The main folder was copied from my NAS to be used as an additional backup, in case of NAS failure (which may or may not be regarded as overkill, but that's what I did). All I wish to do is rename the folder.

What puzzles me is why only one of the four folders contained within the copied folder can't be renamed - incidentally, is this fact the reason why the main folder cannot be renamed?

I have Googled as you suggested, but having followed the advice therein re-taking ownership, the problem remains.

At the end of the day, I don't understand what is happening here, as I didn't knowingly specify the folder be saved as 'read only'.

- Collapse -
Not raw.

Just condensed it to not type the long answer.

If the folder is "special" it may not be renamed easily. There are more ways to solve this beyond taking ownership. Look up UNLOCKER to unlock it and then try again.

But without a name I can't tell if the name is reserved or special.

In a pinch I can boot up any Live CD such as UBUNTU or boot to the command line to do the rename there.

Lots of solutions but I apologize that the short answer was taken badly.

- Collapse -
Still no solution..

Thanks for that - and no apology needed - perhaps I'm a little too sensitive!

I should have mentioned that I'd already tried to rename the file via Unlocker, but without success.

Folder names as follows:-C:Pete's Docs:Media

Media contains subfolders 'Music', 'Photos All', 'Photos Pete's' and 'Videos,.

'Photo's Pete's' is the one which cannot be renamed, as well as its parent file 'Media'.

Sorry, but I get a little lost when you use unfamiliar terminology eg 'Boot to the Command Line', so please forgive me and hold my hand a little, if you will!



- Collapse -
With the other than letters and numbers in the names.

Renaming at the command line is a bit more challanging. You can find tutorials on the command line aplenty so use those. I type my replies in so to type a command line tutorial when there is web pages about it is something I can't do.

BUT let's try the easy ways.

1. Boot SAFE MODE and try again. This stops other issues from stopping you.

2. Boot up UBUNTU from CD or USB. NO INSTALL NEEDED and it's too much like Windows to stop a Windows user from clicking around to the folder or file to rename it. Here's what others said about another Live CD years ago ->

I know many want fancy names on folders and such but my old 8.3 days have me keeping it to 8.3 whenever possible. The troubles I have are few.


Try UNLOCKER again.


- Collapse -
At last...

Using Safe Mode Command line worked, although I didn't think it had, as I kept getting a message saying 'specified file not found'.
I abandoned that avenue, but when I booted into normal mode to check I was using the correct file name, hey presto, it had actually been renamed!

Thanks, Bob, for sticking with me on this!

BTW, what do you mean by the old 8.3 days?


- Collapse -
A quick "intrude" from me

DOS, Disk Operating System, was the pre-cursor Operating System to the Windows Operating System we know today. It was all command line led, meaning no mouse clicks, no 'windows' as we see them now and no navigating around screens that we are used to. A typical DOS screen;

In pre-Windows 9x days, the days of DOS, we were limited to how we could name files to certain characters and length.

The length was limited to 8 characters, plus 3 for the file extension. For example personal.doc is the limit for a document I would want to name and save. If I had tried mypersonal.doc, then DOS would cut the name to mypers~1.doc, or just refuse to allow the name.

Windows 95 allowed us to use longer names, but DOS was still at the heart of the early Windows OS's and on occasions there would be conflicts. Unusual characters not recognised in DOS could cause problems with the way Windows handled long or non-standard, (for DOS), file names.

XP started the move away from DOS, but still some remnants remained. If XP baulks on a renaming of a file or folder, we can often resolve that by using DOS to rename the file to an 8.3 format name, (8 characters, 3 file extension), to clear the blockage.

Vista and Windows 7 has removed DOS altogether, but they provide a DOS Emulator for certain tasks.

I hope that helps. It is probably not the pure technical version Bob would give, but it gives you an idea.


- Collapse -
Yes, I should've realised...

I'd forgotten about those dim and distant days - thanks for taking the time to explain!

- Collapse -
Thanks for the report.

Sorry about all the troubles and I hope your personal arsenal of tools has found an upgrade here.

There are many ways to solve this one but I find it can be a challenge if you ask folk to boot up a Live OS from CD. At least there are such things to save the day.

- Collapse -
More questions

OK, the problem's solved, and I've learnt a lot - but the question remains as to what caused it?

Now that the 'root' folder has been renamed via MS-DOS, (and not using the 8.3 style, incidentally), I find I can rename it in the usual way, and it is also still Read Only (which is fine), and the other file which was 'blocked' can also be renamed.

Whilst happy with the outcome it would be nice to know how this happened in the first place, why files are saved as read only (default presumably -if so, how can this be changed?), and what was, for want of a better term, blocking the Rename process.

- Collapse -


Is going to be left unanswered as the causes are too numerous to dive into here. I like to say malware or cockpit error but who knows? I only know how to deal with it.

- Collapse -
(NT) OK, Thanks
- Collapse -
Re: "Pete's Docs:Media" ...

That colon is an illegal character.

If any of the names contain double quotes they too are illegal characters.

these are all reserved characters and "illegal" in file names:

< (less than)
> (greater than)
: (colon)
" (double quote)
/ (forward slash)
\ (backslash)
| (vertical bar or pipe)
? (question mark)
* (asterisk)

If any of the folder names contains a space (or a period) at the end the underlying file system may support such names, the Windows shell and user interface does not.

Rename from the command liune using wild cards. For example Ren "Petes*.*" "Petes Docs - Media"

- Collapse -
Similar problem

I have a file that I BELIEVE is encrypted. (I dont remember encrypting it)

I am on XP Pro BTW

I tried the method listed at the bottom (take ownership) , but in the end it still denied access.

One other important point is :

At the time this file was probably encrypted, there was no password on the admin acount.

- Collapse -
Did you try

the other methods offered in this discussion? EG one we try often is the Safe Mode option.


- Collapse -
Unlocker + rename

I had the same issue today (don't remember ever having this problem before); a folder in My Documents on a Win XP SP3 could not be renamed, whereas its sibblings could; both it and its sibblings had the "read only" property half-set (no clear, not checkmarked, but in-between), and attempting to unset it completely did not work.

Anyways what worked for me was to use Unlocker: right-click the un-renamable folder, select Unlocker (assuming you have installed Unlocker of course); Unlocker said that it did not find any locks, but you'll notice the choice box bottom left of the Unlocker dialog, which says "no action"; change this to Rename, enter the desired name, and OK and that should do it. Interestingly, once I renamed it once, I could rename it normally again.

I bet that just opening a console and renaming from there would have worked, I wish I had thought of that first to verify.

- Collapse -
Quick & Simple Answer

Not sure why everyone's going crazy about this?! Saying you have to open in safe mode, sign in as an administrator..etc?! I had this (access denied)problem where I couldn't rename a folder with the traditional left click or delete certain files! Just right click to rename it and ro delete it, change file to read only(you'll get a Sure you want this file read only popup, click yes) throw in trash and delete! Simple as that!