How to Fix Unable to Rename Folders on Windows 11

Renaming folders is one of the efficient ways to help you organize and categorize your computer files. It makes it easier to find, identify, and keep track of a specific file that you need.

If you are encountering issues with Windows 11 being unable to rename folders, then this article will help you troubleshoot and solve the problem.

How to Rename Folders

First things first, let us identify how to rename folders.

To do this, type “File Explorer” on the search button of your taskbar.

On the File Explorer window, search for the file or folder that you want to rename.

Lastly, right-click on the file or folder, then choose “Rename”.

Now that we have discussed the process of how to rename folders, let’s go over with the solutions.

Ensure That the Folder is Not in Use

Windows do not allow you to rename a folder that is in use. It is because background processes are currently running with it.

To check, you must review all your open applications and programs. Make sure that you have closed any files that are related to the folder that you are trying to rename.

After doing that, you should now be able to proceed in renaming folders without any issues.

Restart Windows Explorer

Windows Explorer, also known as File Explorer, is a Windows application that is used to browse folders and files. It is where you can open, navigate, and move the files stored on your computer.

To restart Windows Explorer, begin by opening Task Manager through search on the taskbar or by pressing the shortcut keys “Ctrl + Shift + Esc”.

You will see the list of programs on the left-hand side. Scroll to locate Windows Explorer.

Lastly, right-click on “Windows Explorer” and then choose “Restart”.

Related: How to Turn Off File Explorer Check Boxes on Windows 11

Change the Windows Defender Settings

Windows Defender, previously known as Microsoft AntiSpyware, is a Microsoft antimalware application. It works by safeguarding your computer’s system by protecting it from unwanted software, blocking unauthorized access, and installing new virus definition files. It also has real-time malware protection to help keep your computer safe from malware risks.

To change the Windows Defender settings of your computer, start by clicking the “Windows key + i”.

Among the list of options, select “Update & Security”.

update

After opening Update & Security, choose “Windows Security” from the list located on the left-hand side.

Fix Unable to Rename Folders on Windows 11

Select “Open Windows Security” located on the right panel.

windows security

And then, choose “Virus & Threat Protection” among the displayed options.

security

After that, scroll down to look for Manage Settings.

virus and threat protection

Go to “Manage Controlled Folder Access”.

Fix Unable to Rename Folders on Windows 11

Lastly, turn off the “Controlled Folder Access”.

Fix Unable to Rename Folders on Windows 11

Just take note that certain features of Windows Defender can sometimes impede your system. It causes problems by not being able to rename folders, to name one. If that’s the case, you need to disable them to fix the issue.

However, if you choose to disable this feature, just make sure that you have a backup third-party antivirus software installed to keep your computer still safe from malware.

Related: How to Fix Windows Defender Not Working on Windows 11

Scan for Malware

Malware can cause several issues affecting your computer’s system and performance. In some cases, it can render your computer inoperable.

To ensure that this isn’t the case, scan your computer for malware by primarily opening the Windows Security application.

Among the options, select “Virus & Threat Protection”.

Fix Unable to Rename Folders on Windows 11

Although you will be able to see the malware status of your computer upon accessing Virus & Threat Protection, it is still recommended to perform a quick scan just to ensure that your computer is safe from any malware.

The first step is to simply select “Quick Scan”.  

After that, your computer should now be in the process of scanning for any malware.

Fix Unable to Rename Folders on Windows 11

By performing a quick scan, your computer will let you know of any potential malware issues to help you address it as soon as possible.

Change Your View

Although this solution is more of a personal preference, changing your Windows’ view helps you to easily see the display of the files and folders on your computer, including the file and folder names. Windows allows you to view your files as icons, thumbnails, or in a list.

To do this, start by opening the File Explorer.

After that, search the file or folder that you want to rename. 

On the upper left-hand portion, select “View” and then choose your preferred option. By choosing your preferred option, it will help you rename your files and folders without too many issues.

Fix Unable to Rename Folders on Windows 11

Related: View Display Settings in Windows

Install Windows Update

If your computer has an outdated operating system, this may also cause many issues. Windows Update is essential to help your computer reach its optimum performance. This also protects your computer from being at risk of several issues.

To check for any system updates, open Settings by pressing the “Windows key + i”.

Go to Windows Update, and then click “Check for Updates”.

Fix Unable to Rename Folders on Windows 11

Download and install any pending Windows Update to ensure your computer’s best performance. After the download and install, check if you will now be able to rename folders successfully or if any other issues are still there.


The purpose of renaming folders is to change or correct any errors in the file name, such as misspelled words and incorrect data. This now comes in handy as you have performed the above-mentioned solutions. Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below for any comments, questions, or suggestions.

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