“Could not find this item” problem when deleting Windows file

Have you ever seen this message “Could not find this item” on your Windows? When deleting a Windows file you may receive the error message “Could not find this item. This is no longer located in …Verify the item’s location and try again.” That means you are deleting an error file. This is a fake file, your Windows shows it there but it is really not there.

Could not find this item message

I had this problem long time ago. There was an audio file in my audio folder which I could not open or delete it. It showed the message above. Yesterday I encountered this problem again but it happened with my friend’s computer. She could not delete her file and she needed me to help her. I think I should have a post about this problem, it may be helpful to you sometimes.

If you have the same problem, you can delete your file by following the steps below. I do it using Windows commands.

Windows Command Prompt

1. Open your Command Prompt window with administrator privileges (if this is new to you, you can use google to know how to open it)

2. Use the cd command to go to the location of the file or folder containing it. On my friend’s computer I use this: cd C:\xdvxcv\Downloads

3. If you do step 2 successfully, type in the command: dir /x. This will list all files and folders in that location. Now you can see the file you want to delete is listed there, in my case IELTS TestBuilder 2 – Audio CDs.rar

4. Use del command to delete it by typing del then the file name. If your file name is too long, you can use the 8.3 filename (a type of short file name in Windows). It is displayed next to the file names which is longer than 8 characters (exclude the dot and file extension). Mine is IELTST~2.RAR so I use del IELTST~2.RAR to delete it.

This works for me. I hope it’s helpful for you too.

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About Nhut Le
Hello! My name is Nhut Le. I'm currently a software developer. You can subscribe to my RSS to get instant updates delivered to your email.

5 thoughts on ““Could not find this item” problem when deleting Windows file

  1. I’ve had this problem several times and it’s very obnoxious. I’m not a techie, but I think I can handle those weird “commands”.


  2. This incident is very familiar to me. Though it does not happen all the time, I have encountered it for a number of times already. I’m not a techy person as well so this tutorial would really be helpful to me. Thanks, Nhut! 🙂

  3. I also had this error with a corrupted .rar file, that was 0 bytes and would not allow itself to be deleted via the dos prompt in the usual way.

    long story short….

    If the offending file is in a folder and cannot be deleted, remove EVERYTHING else from that folder, leaving the ‘bad’ file. If the file is on the desktop make a new folder and put the bad file in that.

    Open a DOS prompt (as administrator), then hit ctrl+alt+del to get up task manager and close explorer.exe, then locate the file through the dos window and use the command ‘rmdir foldername /s’ … you’ll get an ‘are you sure’ y/n message come up, hit Y and voila’ your folder with the ‘bad file’ will be erased! Go back to the task manager click on File, new task (run) and type explorer.exe and hit enter, or click OK.

    I found the /s attribute after about three hours searching for a fix for my initial problem, but it was related to another issue… I don’t take credit for this at all… just passing the useful info along, that’s all!

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