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How to change folder names that include an illegal character "[]"

Posted on 2014-02-20
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Last Modified: 2014-02-23
I did a dumb thing.  I put brackets into folder names.  I just figured out that's the reason I'm unable to save Excel files into those folders.

So now I tried renaming those folders and I can't.  So I make a new folder, copy the files from the bad named one to the new one and then try to delete the bad folder.  I can't delete it either.

What can I do to either rename or delete a folder whose name contains an illegal character?
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Question by:coachjim
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7 Comments
 
LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:helpfinder
ID: 39873963
try to boot into safe mode and delete from  here
also you can make bootable live CD/USB of Ubutnu for example and try to delete that folders from here
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LVL 55

Accepted Solution

by:
Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016 earned 2000 total points
ID: 39873990
Hi Jim,
That's not the reason you can't save files into those folders. The "[" and "]" characters (left and right square brackets) are valid for file and folder names. Look elsewhere for your problem, such as a write permissions issue. FYI, here's a list the characters that are not valid in a file/folder name:

< (less than)
> (greater than)
: (colon)
" (double quote)
/ (forward slash)
\ (backslash)
| (vertical bar or pipe)
? (question mark)
* (asterisk)
Integer value zero (ASCII NUL character)
Integer values 1-31 (except for alternate data streams where these characters are allowed)

Regards, Joe
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LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:Darr247
ID: 39874745
Probably not the case here, but device names (like COM1, LPT1, et al) are forbidden as folder or file names (in windows, at least), too.

e.g.
AUX
CLOCK$
COM#  (but COM## and more is OK)
CON
LPT#  (but LPT## and more is OK)
NUL
PRN
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:coachjim
ID: 39875345
Thanks Joe, I just tried deleting a folder with just text and got the same message:

"The action can't be completed because the folder or a file in it is open in another program."

I've now been able to do it, but it was weird and I need to futz with it to be able to explain what I did.

Until then...thanks.
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LVL 55

Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
ID: 39875421
You're welcome, Jim. No surprise that you got the same message with just text in the folder name, since the left and right brackets are perfectly valid in folder/file names.

So, is everything OK now or are you still having problems? Regards, Joe
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LVL 2

Author Closing Comment

by:coachjim
ID: 39880700
What can I say...thanks.
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LVL 55

Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
ID: 39880703
You're welcome. Happy to help. Regards, Joe
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