How to fix Windows cannot find error [Full Guide]

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
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  • Unable to start working due to the annoying Windows cannot find error? The message may pop up when you try to open File Explorer or certain applications.
  • To get rid of it right away, re-register Windows 10 apps or use other tips detailed below.
  • If it happens to be an Explorer issue, then visit this File Explorer Troubleshooting section too.
  • For quick fixes at any hour, don't hesitate to bookmark our Windows 10 Errors Hub.
Fix Windows cannot find error

The Windows cannot find error is one that can occur under alternative circumstances. For some, the issue occurs when trying to open File Explorer with the Win + E hotkey or from the Win + X menu.

For other users, the error message pops up when launching some Windows 10 apps. In both instances, an error message states: Windows cannot find. Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again.

If that error message only pops up when you try to open File Explorer, it’s not such a big deal. You can still open that file manager by pressing the taskbar’s File Explorer button or by clicking This PC on the desktop.

However, Windows 10 apps returning that same error message don’t open. This is how you can fix the Windows cannot find error for both Explorer and apps.

How can I solve the Windows cannot find error?

1. Select File Explorer’s This PC option

  1. Press the File Explorer icon on the taskbar.
  2. Select the View tab in the snapshot directly below.Windows cannot find file, make sure you typed the name correctly
  3. Press the Options button, and select Change folder and search options from its menu.Windows cannot find file, make sure you typed the name correctly
  4. That option will open the window directly below. Select This PC from the Open File Explorer to the drop-down menu.
  5. Press the Apply and OK buttons on the Folder Options window.

Fixing the Windows cannot find error for File Explorer is more straightforward. Some Windows users have resolved the issue by adjusting the Open File Explorer setting to This PC.

Tired of so many File Explorer issues? Fix them all with the help of this extensive guide.

2. Re-register Windows 10 apps

  1. Right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager.
  2. Click File > Run new task to open the window directly below.Windows cannot find file, make sure you typed the name correctly
  3. Enter Powershell in the Open text box, and select the Create this task with administrative privileges checkbox. Then click OK to open the window below.Windows cannot find file, make sure you typed the name correctly
  4. Input Get-AppXPackage | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)AppXManifest.xml”} in Powershell, and press the Enter key.Windows cannot find file, make sure you typed the name correctly
  5. Thereafter, reboot the Windows 10 platform.

If Windows 10 apps are showing the Windows cannot find message, resetting the apps is one of the best resolutions.

Re-registering an app is a little like reinstalling it as that deletes app data, but you don’t need to install it again. You can reset Windows 10 apps as follows.

Can’t open Task Manager? Don’t worry, we’ve got the right solution for you.

If PowerShell stops working, fix it by following the simple steps from this amazing guide.

Re-registering Windows 10 apps with Powershell will reset all the default apps bundled with the platform. If you need to re-register new apps you’ve installed, you can do so via Settings.

Each listed app has a Reset button that you can press to re-register it as outlined below.

  1. Press the Start button, and then click the Settings icon.
  2. Click Apps to open the app list in the snapshot directly below.
  3. Select an app to reset.
  4. Click Advanced options to open the app’s Reset option.Windows cannot find file, make sure you typed the name correctly
  5. Press the Reset button, and click Reset again, to re-register the selected app.

If you’re having trouble opening the Setting app, take a look at this article to solve the issue.

3. Open the Microsoft Store App Troubleshooter

  1. Press the Win key + I keyboard shortcut to open Settings.
  2. Click Update & Security > Troubleshoot to open a list of troubleshooters as shown below.
  3. Select the Windows Store App troubleshooter, and press its Run the troubleshooter button.
  4. Press the Next button to go through the troubleshooter‘s resolutions.

The Microsoft Store App troubleshooter might also help fix the Windows cannot find error you are facing. Use the above procedure in that regard.

If the Troubleshooter stops before completing the process, fix it with the help of this complete guide.

4. Rename EXE Files

  1. Browse to the folder location of the program that’s showing the error in File Explorer. If the software has a desktop shortcut, you can right-click that icon and select Open file location.
  2. Select the program’s EXE in File Explorer, and press the F2 key.
  3. Then enter another title for the file, and press the Return key.

The Windows cannot find error can also occur for programs that aren’t Store apps. Then the error message will also include a path for the specific software you’re trying to open.

Renaming EXE files is one resolution for errors that include software paths.

Want a software tool that will get the job done for you? Take a look at this list with the best file renaming software.

Those are a few resolutions that can fix the Windows cannot find error for File Explorer, apps , and other desktop software. Check out this post for further details on how you can fix Windows 10 apps that aren’t opening.

If you have any additional questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

The above solutions may be applied in multiple scenarios users face the days:

  • Windows cannot find. Make sure you typed the name correctly – Users report getting the simple Windows cannot find message or the one that states Windows cannot find. Make sure you typed the name correctly.
  • Windows cannot find. Make sure you typed the name correctly and then try again – That’s another variation of the same core issue. In any case, the above solutions work like a charm.
  • Windows cannot find file – Even if you are using Windows 10 licensed, chances are you’ll encounter this error sooner or later. Try booting your computer in Safe mode or use Microsoft’s Security Scanner.
  • Windows cannot find filename.exe – If that’s the issue you are dealing with, don’t hesitate to rename the EXE file.

FAQ: Learn more about Windows errors

  • What does Windows cannot find error mean?

There are times when the error message shows up when you try to open File Explorer, so select File Explorer’s This PC option and get rid of it for good, as detailed in this quick guide.

  • When does Windows cannot find error show up?

Plenty of users report that they have received the same error message when opening an application.

  • What does it mean when Windows cannot access the specified device path or file?

When getting this error message, it usually means that the file is blocked by Windows.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2017 and has been since revamped and updated in June 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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  • 1) Already set to “This PC”
    2) “this file doesn’t have an app associated with it…” (it is there though)
    3) “There was a problem and this can’t continue”
    4) Wouldn’t let me rename
    Basically my computer can’t find many exe filetypes even when I’m literally double-clicking (or right-click, open) on them.

    This problem started after a PC shutdown during a forced Windows update. I had no idea it was updating, there was no indication on the screen whatsoever, looked like screen was frozen. I gave it a few minutes and still appeared frozen (just a dark screen with no text, loading bar or any sort of motion, just a solid color screen and nothing else). There really needs to be some sort of indication that an update is being forced.

    I tried to reinstall the Windows 10 OS and it doesn’t allow me to go through with that either. It lets me run the command prompt, but not as administrator, so I don’t know if there is something (maybe in safe mode) that I can type in cmd prompt that will fix this issue?

    I’m also unable to install Windows updates. These latest updates failed:

    1) 2019-06 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1803 for x64-based Systems (KB4503286) – Error 0x8007007e

    2) 2019-06 Security Update for Adobe Flash Player for Windows 10 Version 1803 for x64-based Systems (KB4503308) – Error 0x8007007e

    The “retry” option never works and the troubleshooter doesn’t help. I’ve already tried manually downloading the windows update files linked from some troubleshooter. The downloads worked, just not the installation.

    I tried “retry” again and it added a 3rd failed update:

    3) 2019-02 Update for Windows 10 Version 1803 for x64-based Systems (KB4346084) – Error 0x8007007e