Can't delete file Path reads as \\?\C:\Users\<me)\desktop


  1. Posts : 5
    Windows 10
       #1

    Can't delete file Path reads as \\?\C:\Users\<me)\desktop


    I've tried everything I can find
    - Right click file, select delete from the list
    - rename file (filename might be too long)
    - force delete with 3rd party program like Eraser
    - CMD (run as admin) del c:\Users\<me>\desktop
    - cmd CHKDSK and all the different F\ and other letters that I could find to run it. took over 40 minutes when said and done.
    - safeboot/mode
    - open an administrator priority profile
    - unlocker (to unlock the file from any program in use)
    - putting the file in another directory and deleting the folder (the file won't move from the desktop to another folder.)
    - finding where I downloaded the file (it's a .PNG image file), then downloaded the file again, and the 2nd file deletes fine.

    The properties of this file (mouse click/dropdown list/properties) doesn't show as "C:\Users\<me>\desktop"
    The properties reads as \\?\C:\Users\<me>\desktop
    I can see the file on my desktop. But I can only drag it to another spot on the desktop.
    I can not rename it. I can't cut and paste it. I can not delete it.
    I can not force-delete it with Eraser or shredder or several other deletion/format programs I have.

    I'm getting very stressed at this.

    I'm using Windows 10 64bit
      My Computer


  2. Posts : 709
    Windows 7
       #2

    What's the output from this command?
    powershell "Get-ChildItem \\?\C:\Users\remieres\Desktop | fl *"
      My Computer


  3. Posts : 1,567
    win10 home
       #3

    Try this method---
    1 left click on the File/folder
    2 RIGHT click on the File/folder
    3 left click on " Properties "
    4 left click on "Details " tab
    5 at the bottom of the window,left click on "Remove properties and personal information "
    6 in the new window,left click on the SECOND radio button "Remove the following properties from the file "
    7 in the same window,left click "Select All "
    8 then left click "O.K. "
    9 in the "Details " tab window,left click "O.K. "
    The file should have been deleted.
      My Computer


  4. Posts : 16,578
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 22H2 Build 19045.3930
       #4

    Use the procedure in
    my ditty about using RoboCopy to clear out a rogue file - TenForums
    in preparation for which you'll have to move all your other Desktop items elsewhere until the repair has been done.

    remieres said:
    \\?\C:\Users\<me>\desktop
    I know some error messages will refer to the file that way but if you browse to it in File explorer, you will see that it is in the path
    C:\Users\<me>\desktop
    so I am puzzled about why you are not identifying it in this normal way.


    Denis
      My Computer


  5. Posts : 679
    Windows 10/11
       #5

    From a Cmd prompt (not PowerShell) have you tried:

    del \\?\"C:\Users\your user name\desktop"

    But if it's a file that appears on your desktop, named desktop, then it should be this:

    del \\?\"C:\Users\your user name\desktop\desktop"

    Or this:

    del \\?\"C:\Users\public\desktop\desktop"
    Last edited by LesFerch; 05 May 2023 at 20:36.
      My Computer


  6. Posts : 5
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #6

    LesFerch said:
    From a Cmd prompt (not PowerShell) have you tried:

    del \\?\"C:\Users\your user name\desktop"

    But if it's a file that appears on your desktop, named desktop, then it should be this:

    del \\?\"C:\Users\your user name\desktop\desktop"

    Or this:

    del \\?\"C:\Users\public\desktop\desktop"
    I just tried this now. Sorry for the late reply.
    Me:
    cd\
    copied the full filename to enter after the "del" command.
    C:\>del \\?\C\Users\<username>\desktop\filename.png (it's a png picture file).
    result
    Could Not find \\?\C:\Users\<username>\desktop\11254
    (that's only the first 5 digits of the file name and yet that's all that shows up. the filename is very long, but all it recognizes, is the first 5 numbers of the filename).
    Could Not Find C:\-

    C:\>

    - - - Updated - - -

    LesFerch said:
    From a Cmd prompt (not PowerShell) have you tried:

    del \\?\"C:\Users\your user name\desktop"

    But if it's a file that appears on your desktop, named desktop, then it should be this:

    del \\?\"C:\Users\your user name\desktop\desktop"

    Or this:

    del \\?\"C:\Users\public\desktop\desktop"
    I just now tried the first line, that you showed. Deleting the whole of everything on Desktop (I saved all my valuable shortcuts to another folder on the drive temporarily).

    C:\>del \\?"C:\Users\<username>\desktop
    \\?\C:\Users\<username>\desktop*, Are you sure (Y/N)? y <ENTER>

    C:\>

    Result. FILE IS DELETED!!!!!.
    Thank you soo much for this LesFerch
      My Computer


  7. Posts : 679
    Windows 10/11
       #7

    remieres said:
    (that's only the first 5 digits of the file name and yet that's all that shows up. the filename is very long,
    Oh, that's an important bit of information. Do you happen to use FireFox?
      My Computer


  8. Posts : 5
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #8

    LesFerch said:
    Oh, that's an important bit of information. Do you happen to use FireFox?
    Nope, I use Google Chrome. On my Windows 10/64bit desktop.
    The file, was saved from the web, via click and drag to desktop.
    My guess, is that the file was somehow corrupted, mid-download.
      My Computer


  9. Posts : 679
    Windows 10/11
       #9

    remieres said:
    Nope, I use Google Chrome. On my Windows 10/64bit desktop.
    The file, was saved from the web, via click and drag to desktop.
    My guess, is that the file was somehow corrupted, mid-download.
    Interesting. This is usually a FireFox issue that occurs when a base64 image is dragged to the desktop (or any folder). Chrome and Edge will create a "download.png" file, but FireFox creates a URL link that's difficult to remove. I hadn't heard of this happening with Chrome.

    It's easily avoided by just never dragging from your browser. Always right-click and select Save As.

    But should you (or anyone else landing here) encounter this problem, here's the usual method to remove the file:

    1. Shift-right-click the file name in Explorer and select Copy as path.
    2. Open a Cmd window (⊞-R cmd).
    3. Enter del \\?\ and then right-click to paste in the copied path. The result should look something like this:
      del \\?"C:\Users\SomeUser\Desktop\DATAIM~1.URL"
    4. Press Enter to delete the file.

    Note: In Windows 11, Copy as path is also available with just a right-click (i.e. shift not needed).

    Note: The above command does not work in a PowerShell window. It has to be a Cmd window. However, if you have PowerShell 7.x installed, you can use it to delete the file with a simple wildcard (i.e. del data*.*). PowerShell 7.x is cross-platform, so it can handle the unusual file name.
      My Computer


 

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