Can’t rename folders in Windows 10 [Fix]

By: Ivan Jenic
4 minute read

There are some Windows problems that don’t look so serious at first, but can turn into a nightmare if there’s no solution. One of these problems is a bug in Windows 10 that prevents users from renaming folders.

According to various reports, this is an ongoing problem, that has been present in the previous versions of Windows, and remains an issue in Windows 10, as well. In case you’ve recently encountered this issue, and can’t rename a single folder in your computer, we’ve gathered a few possible solutions, that might be of some help.

What to do if you can’t rename folders in Windows 10

Solution 1 – Make sure you have ownership of the folder

In order to do anything (rename, delete, move, etc.) with a folder in Windows 10, you need to have ownership of it. If you have just one User Account, ownership of the majority of folders is granted to you automatically. However, if there are more User Accounts on a single computer, users without administrator privileges may have problems managing folders.

So, before you dig into more serious solutions, make sure you’re using a User Account with administrative privileges. Also, there’s a chance you don’t have ownership of a folder, even if you’re using the primary User Account. In that case, you need to grant permission manually.

In case you don’t know how to take ownership of a folder in Windows 10, check out these instructions:

  1. Right-click the folder you want to gain access to and choose Properties.
  2. When the Properties window opens, navigate to the Security tab. In the group or user name section you can see the list of users and groups on your computer that can access this folder.
  3. Click the Advanced button.
  4. When Advanced Security Settings windows opens check the Owner section at the top. Click Change in order to change the owner of the folder.
  5. Select User or Group window will now open. Click Advanced. Optional: If you know the name of the group or the user, you can just enter it in the Enter the object name to select section and click Check Names and OK and skip to Step 8.
  6. Click Find Now button and the list of all groups and users on your computer should appear in Search results.
  7. Select the name or the group from the list and click OK. In our example we selected Users group, but you make to select a group or a user that you wish to assign ownership to.
  8. Click OK again.
  9. Check Replace owner on subcontainers and objects to change the owner for all subfolders in this folder.
  10. Click OK to save changes.

Once you’ve got a full ownership of the folder you want to rename, try to change its name once again. If it fails, move on to the solution from below.

Solution 2 – Use registry tweak

This is a bit complicated solution, therefore it requires a certain amount of knowledge. So, if you’re not sure in what you’re doing, it’s best to ask someone more experienced for help.

For this solution, you’re going to need either one of these:

  • Your own registry backup (SOFTWARE hive) which is known to be before this issue started
  • The SOFTWARE hive from C:\Windows\System32\config\RegBack
  • The SOFTWARE hive from Windows\System32\config from the installation dvd/usb install.wim

So, if you don’t have your registry backup, it’s best to use the SOFTWARE hive from the RegBack folder. Here’s exactly what you need to do:

  1. Go to Search, type regedit, and open Registry Editor
  2. Click (don’t double-click) HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
  3. Now, go to File>Load Hive
  4. Find your SOFTWARE hive, name it differently, and load it
  5. Wen the hive is loaded, open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\your hive name\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FolderTypes
  6. Highlight FolderTypes, right-click it, choose Export. Choose a name, and save
  7. Go back to your hive name, and close it
  8. Open the File Menu and click Unload Hive > Yes
  9. Close the Registry Editor
  10. Now, find the registry file you’ve just exported, double-click it to import it back to registry
  11. Restart your computer

After you’ve performed this, try renaming your folder again. If you fail, check out this Reddit thread, where you have a more detailed explanation of the whole process.

That’s about it. In case you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below.


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