Unable to Rename a Folder in Windows 11: How to Force it (2023)

Restart the Windows Explorer process or install the latest update

by Sagar Naresh

Unable to Rename a Folder in Windows 11: How to Force it (1)

Sagar Naresh

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Sagar is a web developer and technology journalist. Currently associated with WindowsReport and SamMobile. When not writing, he is either at the gym sweating it out or playing... read more

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Unable to Rename a Folder in Windows 11: How to Force it (2)

(Video) How To Fix Cannot Rename Files In Windows 11/10 [Tutorial]

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  • Not being able to rename folders in Windows 11 can be a frustrating issue as it could hamper your ongoing task.
  • It could be because of a bug in the installed Windows update or Windows Explorer.
  • You can also resolve the issue by disabling the Controlled access folder feature in Windows Security.

Unable to Rename a Folder in Windows 11: How to Force it (3)


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There are some users that have reported that they are unable to rename a folder in Windows 11. The users confirm that the context menu disappears not allowing them to rename the folder. Else, they are treated with an error message.

Why am I unable to rename a folder in Windows 11?

After some research, we have found some of the most common reasons that would restrict you from renaming folders in Windows 11.

  • There is a glitch in the current Windows update: Chances are that there is a bug in the Windows update installed on your PC that is causing the problem.
  • Issues with the Windows Explorer: If the Windows Explorer or File Explorer itself is experiencing some issues then it will misbehave and trigger errors such as not allowing you to rename folders.
  • The folder is already in use: If you are using the folder or it is open in another window, then you won’t be able to rename it.
  • Your PC is infected with a virus: Often malware and viruses tend to restrict user input on a PC, which could be the reason you aren’t able to rename the folder in Windows 11.
  • You don’t own the folder: If you are not the admin of the folder, then you won’t be able to rename the folder.
  • Controlled Folder Access feature is enabled: Controlled Folder Access feature lets you protect an important folder from anyone making changes to it. Chances are this feature is turned on and preventing you from making the changes.

How can I fix unable to rename a folder in Windows 11 issue?

Here’s what you should do first:

  • Make sure that the folder that you wish to rename or modify isn’t open in the background or another window. Simply close all the Windows Explorer processes and go to the folder, right-click on it and select Rename.
  • You should also check and make sure that any file inside the folder isn’t opened.

1. Disable Controlled Folder Access

  1. Press the Win button to open the Start menu.
  2. Type Windows Security and open it.
  3. Select Virus and threat protection.
  4. Click on Manage ransomware protection.
  5. Toggle off Controlled folder access.
  6. Restart your PC for the changes to take effect.
  7. Locate the folder and see if you can rename it or not.

2. Take ownership of the folder

  1. Locate the folder that you aren’t able to rename.
  2. Right-click on it and select Properties.
  3. Switch to the Security tab.
  4. Click on Advanced.
  5. Click on Change for the Owner section.
  6. Select Yes in the prompt that appears.
  7. Type the username in the Enter the object name to select box.
  8. Click Check Names.
  9. Select OK.
  10. Check the box for Replace owner on subcontainers and objects.
  11. Click Apply and OK.
  12. Restart your PC.

Having the necessary privileges ensures that you can move, delete or rename the folder in question. You can easily get admin access to the folder by following the above steps.

Read more about this topic
  • How to Password Protect Zip Files in Windows 11 [3 Tips]
  • 5 Ways to Fix Hyper-V Audio Not Working on Windows 11
  • Minecraft Won’t Install on Windows 11: 5 Easy Methods to Use
  • How to Fix Windows 11 Printer Driver is Unavailable Error

3. Scan your PC for virus

  1. Press the Win button to open the Start menu.
  2. Type Windows Security and open it.
  3. Select Virus and threat protection.
  4. Hit the Quick Scan button.
  5. You can select Scan options and click on Full Scan for a deep scan of your PC.
  6. If the system detects any viruses, then follow the prompts to remove them from your PC.

Do note that the Windows Security antivirus tool is limited in features and often it is found that it isn’t as effective as dedicated antivirus software.

So, we would suggest you check out our list of the best antivirus software that you can use on your Windows 11 PC and see if this fixes the issue or not.

4. Check for Windows updates

  1. Press the Win + I keys to open the Windows Settings.
  2. Select Windows Update from the left pane.
  3. Click on the Check for updates option.
  4. Install the update, if there is a new one available.
  5. Restart your PC and see if you can rename the folder or not.

Expert tip:


Some PC issues are hard to tackle, especially when it comes to corrupted repositories or missing Windows files. If you are having troubles fixing an error, your system may be partially broken.
We recommend installing Restoro, a tool that will scan your machine and identify what the fault is.
Click hereto download and start repairing.

You should make sure that you are running the latest available version of the Windows OS to make sure everything runs perfectly fine without any issues.

5. Restart the Windows Explorer process

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the Task Manager.
  2. Click on the Processes tab.
  3. Locate Windows Explorer.
  4. Right-click on it and select Restart.

Often due to multiple opened instances, Windows Explorer can misbehave. In such a case, it is better to restart the process and start from scratch.

6. Run SFC Scan

  1. Open the Start menu by pressing the Win key.
  2. Type the command prompt and open it as an admin.
  3. Type the below command and press Enter. sfc /scannow
  4. Wait for the process to fix the missing or corrupt system files.
  5. Restart your PC and see if this resolves the problem of unable to rename a folder in Windows 11 issue or not.

You can use the SFC Scan tool to fix missing or corrupt system files. While this is effective, it isn’t as effective as a dedicated third-party tool.

(Video) Cannot rename files in Windows 11/10

We would recommend you use the Restoro tool. Using Restoro, not only you will be able to fix corrupt system files, but fix BSOD errors, fix damaged DLLs, and system crashes, remove spyware and malware, and much more.

Unable to Rename a Folder in Windows 11: How to Force it (21)


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How to force rename a folder in Windows 11?

  1. Open the Start menu by pressing the Win key.
  2. Type the command prompt and open it as an admin.
  3. Type the below command and press Enter. REN "Full Path of Folder" "New Folder Name"
    • For example, to rename a folder with the current name XX in the C Drive to YY, the above command will look like REN “C:XX” “YY”.

That is it from us in this guide. If File Explorer is crashing or freezing in Windows 11, then you should check out our guide and fix the problem.

We also have a guide that will help you to delete files with a long name without any issues. You can also check out our guide that will help you disable the auto arrange in folders on Windows PC.

Feel free to let us know in the comments below, which one of the above-listed solutions helped you resolve the unable to rename a folder on Windows 11 PC.

Still having issues? Fix them with this tool:


If the advices above haven't solved your issue, your PC may experience deeper Windows problems. We recommend downloading this PC Repair tool (rated Great on TrustPilot.com) to easily address them. After installation, simply click the Start Scan button and then press on Repair All.

This article covers:Topics:

  • File Explorer

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    Unable to Rename a Folder in Windows 11: How to Force it (23)

    (Video) How to Rename The User Folder In Windows 11



    How do I force a folder to rename in Windows 11? ›

    Step 1: Right-click on the folder you wish to rename and select Properties. Step 2: Under the Security tab, click the Advanced button. Step 3: Click on Change next to the Owner.

    How do I force a folder to rename in Windows? ›

    Part 3. How to Rename a Folder in Command Prompt?
    1. Click on the search and type in "command prompt" to open CMD.
    2. Now suppose the folder which is to be renamed is named as "A" and it is going to be renamed as "B" then type the "REN" command as follows: ...
    3. Press "Enter" from the keyboard.

    How do I force a file to rename? ›

    Click the file you want to rename to select it and press the F2 key on your keyboard to make its name editable. Then type a new name and press Enter. Right-click on the file, select Rename from the context menu and then type a new name and press Enter.

    How do I delete Undeletable folders in Windows 11? ›

    One is simply using the delete option, and the other one is deleting files permanently. When you can't delete a file normally, you can delete undeletable files Windows 10 by selecting the target file or folder and then press Shift + Delete keys on the keyboard for a try.

    Why is my computer not letting me rename files? ›

    When a file or folder is still open, Windows doesn't allow users to rename it. Therefore, you must ensure that no files or folders are open and no apps are running in the background while you're renaming. To do that, simply click on the same file again to open it, and it will take you to the already opened tab.

    How do I unlock a folder in Windows 11? ›

    Step 1: Right-click on the file or folder you want to un-encrypt. Step 2: Click Properties > Advanced. Step 3: Here, just uncheck the Encrypt contents to secure data option and you are gold. Just tap on Ok and Apply after that and the changes will take effect.

    How do I fix a corrupted folder in Windows 11? ›

    8 Best Ways to Fix Corrupt Files on Windows 11
    1. Check for Windows Update. ...
    2. Perform a System Restore. ...
    3. Run the Check Disk Command. ...
    4. Use SFC and DISM Commands. ...
    5. Run Startup Repair. ...
    6. Use the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool. ...
    7. Run the System Maintenance Troubleshooter. ...
    8. Reset Your PC.
    Oct 31, 2022

    Why can ti rename my PC Windows 11? ›

    To change the PC name on Windows 11, open Settings > System > About. Then click the “Rename this PC” button, rename the computer and restart. Alternatively, you can use Control Panel, Command Prompt, and PowerShell to rename your PC.

    How do I rename a locked folder? ›

    Type “del” or “ren” into the prompt, depending on whether you wish to delete or rename the file, and hit space once. Drag and drop the locked file with your mouse into the command prompt. If you wish to rename the file, you need to append the new name for it at the end of the command (with the file extension).

    How do I force ownership of a folder? ›

    1. Right-click on a file or folder.
    2. Select Properties.
    3. Click the Security tab.
    4. Click Advanced.
    5. Click "Change" next to the owner name.
    6. Click Advanced.
    7. Click Find Now.
    8. Select your username and click OK.
    May 23, 2022

    How do I retitle a folder? ›

    Next to a folder you want to rename, tap the Down arrow . Tap Rename. Enter a new name. Tap OK.

    How do you rename a file in glitch? ›

    Rename a file:
    1. In the project editor, hover over the file you would like to rename and click the three dots directly to the right of your selection.
    2. Select Rename and a blinking cursor will appear at the end of the file name.
    3. Type in the new file name and extension.

    Why F2 is not working for rename? ›

    1] Check if using FN with F2 helps

    The F keys are accessible through another key called the Fn keys. When you press the Fn key and the special button, then it works. Depending on the laptop and keyboard type, you should be able to change the behavior of such keys.

    What is the shortcut key for renaming a file in Windows 11? ›

    Open File Explorer by going to My Computer, or by pressing Windows Key + E on your keyboard. Find the file you want to rename, select it and select Rename on the ribbon (or press F2 on your keyboard). Type the new name you want the file to have and press Enter.

    How do I rename a folder without right clicking? ›

    8. Renaming Files and Folders. To edit or rename a file or folder, simply hit F2 when your file is selected. (If you are on a laptop, you may have to press the Fn key when you hit F2 .)

    How do I assign a drive letter to a folder in Windows 11? ›

    Map a network drive in Windows
    1. Open File Explorer from the taskbar or the Start menu, or press the Windows logo key + E.
    2. Select This PC from the left pane. ...
    3. In the Drive list, select a drive letter. ...
    4. In the Folder box, type the path of the folder or computer, or select Browse to find the folder or computer. ...
    5. Select Finish.


    1. How To Rename File or Folder On Windows 11 [Tutorial]
    2. Can't Delete A File or Folder in Windows 11? Force Delete It
    3. You'll need to provide administrator permission to delete the folder - How to Fix in 2021
    4. Fix Can't Delete Files/Folders in Windows 11 | 2023 Guide
    5. Fix The action cannot be completed because the file is open in another program on Windows 10/11
    (The Geek Page)
    6. How To Change User Folder Name in Windows 10
    (Sandeep Singh)
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