Posts Tagged ‘filename not valid’

Can’t Delete Files Containing Special Characters in Windows

March 16th, 2015 by Admin

There might be situations where you need to delete some folders or files contains special characters in the filenames. When you try to delete, move or rename such a folder/file from Windows Explorer, you’ll receive the error message “The file name you specified is not valid or too long“.


Or get a similar error message “The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect” when you try to delete the folders/files from Command Prompt.


I have tried many third-party softwares such as unlocker, 7-Zip File Manager, and other tricks discussed in various forums. But none of them work. This problem is very tricky because a set of special characters can’t be used in filenames, such as
\ / : * ? " < > |

Almost all Windows apps are unable to process these stubborn files. To get around this problem, you need to use a Ubuntu Live CD or Linux distribution. In my example, I boot my computer from Ubuntu Live CD and I can then easily create, open, rename or delete any folders or files with special characters.


Almost anything (only the / character is not allowed) will be allowed in the filename after booting to Linux or Ubuntu. Using this method, you can delete or rename any Windows folders/files located in your hard drive.