We have covered a lot of super stupid file errors on Windows over the years but this one is one of the most stupid problems getting around. Files with really long names not being able to be deleted or renamed. While this doesn't happen all that often there are times when a file with a really long name can't be deleted. There are a couple of different ways you can do this so work your way through the steps below.


  1. How to delete files with really long file names that won't delete normally.
  2. Learn how to fix files with really long file names not allowing you to delete them on Windows 10 and 11.

How to Delete Files with Long File Names on Windows 11.

  • Open File Explorer and navigate to the directory containing the file.

  • Press Shift and right-click the empty area.

  • Click Open Command Window Here to open Command Prompt.

  • Type DIR /X and press Enter. This will list all files in the current directory, showing long filenames in a shortened form like WHYSOL~1.TXT.

  • Then you can try to delete them. This probably won't work though. But it's worth a shot.

Try Using Safe Mode

Try restarting your computer in Safe Mode and see if that works.

  • Press Windows + R, type msconfig in the Run window, and hit Enter to open System Configuration.

  • Click the Boot tab, check Safe Boot, select Network, and hit OK.

  • Restart your PC to enter Safe Mode.

  • Delete the file, then repeat the process and uncheck Safe Boot to return to normal mode.

Use Command Prompt for Specific File Issues

If the issue is related to specific applications like Firefox:

  • Right-click the file while holding Shift in Explorer and select Copy as path.

  • Open Command Prompt (Windows + R, type cmd, and press Enter).

  • Enter del \\?\, then right-click to paste the copied path. It should look like this:

    del \\?\”C:\Users\SomeUser\Downloads\DATAIM~1.URL”

  • Press Enter to delete the file.

Use Revo Uninstaller

Annoying there is a fairly high chance that the above steps don't actually solve this problem leaving you with two options. Clean installing Windows, or using Revo Uninstaller. I recently had a file from a Yuzu game with a super long file name that couldn't be deleted using any known method. However, Revo Uninstaller managed to remove the file for me. It's a super well-known program and one that comes highly recommended. It also has a ton of other options and features that will allow you to clean a bucket load of other crap off your Windows installation.

Why This Happens

Compatibility Issues: Long file paths can exceed the limit that some applications or scripts can handle. Older software may not be designed to manage these extended paths, resulting in errors.

Windows API Limitations: The Windows API restricts path lengths, which can cause problems for applications relying on these APIs.

System Stability: Extremely long paths can affect system performance and stability, particularly during operations like copying, moving, or backing up files. Malware, buggy updates, or system damage can exacerbate these issues.