Upgrading from Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10 caught a lot of PC users by surprise. Many wanted to remain with the older Windows versions due to familiarity, and some jumped on board and took Microsoft’s free upgrade with open arms.
Now that Microsoft is discontinuing support for its older operating systems, everyone is being forced onto their newest one. This has led to an increase in error reports, and, in particular, the directory name is invalid.
This is a less common error but is inconvenient and irritating. It prevents the user from accessing certain folders and opening some files.
So, if you encounter this error, what can you do to resolve it and get access? We’ve got all of the fixes you need to know below.
Solutions for Fixing ‘The Directory Name is Invalid’
After rigorous research and testing, we found out which fixes worked, which were sometimes effective, and which didn’t work.
Below are 8 of those fixes, and if you work your way through this list, we’re confident that you’ll get rid of the directory name is an invalid error.
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Fix #1 – Disconnect USB Devices
The first thing to do is to remove all unnecessary USB devices. Although this might seem a pointless task, these types of devices can interfere with other aspects of your computer.
In this case, a USB device may prevent your other storage devices from communicating.
Step #1 – Disconnect any unnecessary USB devices (e.g., flash drives and webcams) from your computer.
Step #2 – Use the Windows search feature to open “Device Manager.”
Step #3 – Click “View” at the top of the Device Manager window and enable “Show Hidden Device.”
Step #4 – Select the “Portable Devices” category, and for each device shown here, right-click and press “Uninstall Device.”
Step #5 – After uninstalling these devices, check if the directory error is fixed.
Uninstalling these devices won’t wreak havoc on your computer. Typically, depending on the device, they will reinstall the required drivers after you reconnect them. If it fixes the problem, this is just a minor inconvenience anyway.
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Fix #2 – Update Windows 10 to fix ‘The Directory Name is Invalid’
Keeping your Windows 10 version up to date is more important than most realize. Microsoft uses these updates to patch security issues, repair problematic bugs like the directory name is invalid, and add new features. Updating Windows 10 may be the fix you need.
Step #1 – Press the shortcut Windows + I on your keyboard. This will open the Windows settings.
Step #2 – Click on “Update & Security” from this menu.
Step #3 – Click ‘Check for updates‘ and install it if an update is found.
If you want to avoid random errors, doing this frequently will prevent many issues.
Fix #3 – Update Your PC’s BIOS
A more complex solution is to update your computer’s BIOS. BIOS is a piece of software that is used to determine how your computer loads.
Step #1 – First, press the keyboard shortcut Windows + R.
Step #2 – Type “msinfo32” to view your system’s information and make a note of the “BIOS Version/Date.”
Step #3 – Now do a quick Google search of your computer’s manufacturer’s BIOS to find the most recent version.
If you have a new computer, it is unlikely that your BIOS will be out of date. However, if a new version is available, download and install it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Fix #4 – Update Disk and Drivers
Like your operating system and BIOS, keeping the other components of your computer updated is important.
Each piece of hardware requires a driver (a piece of software that allows the hardware to communicate with the operating system). Some drivers notify you when an update is available, but most don’t.
Don’t worry about how technical this sounds – there’s a program that makes it easy. Driver Easy helps you update your hard disk and other drivers too.
It simply detects your PC hardware, scans a database of drivers, and detects any newer versions. This saves you a lot of hassle!
Step #1 – Download Driver Easy to your computer and install it.
Step #2 – Launch the program, and once you have it open, click on “Scan Now.”
Step #3 – After the scan is complete, you’ll be shown a list of drivers. Here you can see which drivers are outdated and require your attention.
Note: if you purchase Driver Easy, you can use the program to download the updates and install them automatically. Otherwise, you must download and install them manually.
Step #4 – For users with the Pro version, click “Update All.”
Step #5 – Restart your computer after the program successfully installs the drivers.
An obvious downside is that you have to purchase Driver Easy for full effectiveness. But if you run the scan and see no outdated drivers, you don’t have to make this purchase. If there are a lot of drivers that you need to update, then consider buying them.
Fix #5 – Check for Storage Disk Errors
If your hard drive’s drivers are all up to date, disk errors can occur. Often this will result in the directory name is an invalid error.
While it’s unfortunate to experience disk errors – which usually indicate corruption – Windows has a built-in tool to help.
Step #1 – Search “This PC” using the Windows search feature.
Step #2 – Right-click on whichever disk has the error and click “Properties.”
Step #3 – Click on the “Tools” tab, and below “Error Checking,” click “Check.”
Step #4 – Press the “Scan drive” button and wait while Windows scans the storage device.
Step #5 – If any errors are found, Windows may attempt to repair them. You will then have to restart your computer and check if this resolves the directory error.
This is definitely a handy tool to use whenever you encounter problems with your storage. The scan will take a while to complete (larger storage devices take more time), but it’s worth the wait if it detects errors.
Unfortunately, some errors cannot be repaired. If the hard drive is corrupt, your only option is to replace it.
Fix #6 – Enable the DVD Drive to Fix ‘The Directory Name is Invalid’
Since your computer’s DVD tray is recognized as a drive, you might notice the error when trying to play a DVD.
Some systems disable the DVD driver if users don’t use it, so enabling it usually does the trick and repairs the directory error.
Step #1 – Using the Windows search bar, type “Device Manager” and press “Enter.”
Step #2 – Click on the “DVD/CD-ROM drives” drop-down menu.
Step #3 – Right-click on the DVD drive and select “Enable device.”
After a moment, the DVD drive will now be fully functional, and any problems should disappear. If not, revisit the Device Manager and instead try to update the driver.
Fix #7 – Create a Storage Partition
Handling storage partitions can be very dangerous, so be cautious when creating a new one. You should only attempt to use this method to resolve “the directory name is invalid” if this concerns a USB flash drive, not one of your hard drives.
Step #1 – Press the Windows + R keyboard shortcut and type “diskmgmt.msc” into the box.
Step #2 – On the Disk Management menu, locate the relevant storage device from the list.
Step #3 – Next to the storage device, right-click on the unallocated section. Select “New Simple Volume…“.
Step #4 – After following the guide on-screen, attempt to access your storage again.
Similarly, you can format the storage device. Doing this will completely wipe the device and be in a factory state. Note that doing this will also permanently delete the data stored on it.
Fix #8 – Check Command Prompt
Finally, the directory name is invalid and could result from a simple misconfiguration. Try accessing the same directory but on a different user account. If it works fine on the other account, use the steps below.
Step #1 – Type “cmd” into the search bar and right-click on “Command Prompt.”
Step #2 – Click “Properties” and then click the “Shortcut” tab.
Step #3 – Next to “Start in,” replace the entry with “%WINDIR%.”
Make a note of the original value here in case anything goes wrong. If only one user account experiences the directory error, this should quickly fix it.
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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
1. What is the significance of choosing compatible directory names?
Choosing compatible directory names ensures smooth functioning of file operations and prevents errors when working with files and directories. It enables easier navigation and organization of files.
2. Can I use special characters in directory names?
It is advisable to avoid using special characters in directory names to ensure compatibility across different operating systems and file systems. Stick to alphanumeric characters, hyphens, and underscores for broader compatibility.
3. Why is it important to avoid exceeding the character limit?
Exceeding the character limit can lead to errors, including the “The Directory Name is Invalid” error. By staying within the specified character limit, you ensure that your directory names are valid and don’t cause any issues.
4. Are there any automated tools available for renaming directories?
Yes, there are several tools available that can help automate the process of renaming directories. These tools can search for invalid characters and provide suggestions for suitable alternatives.
5. Is there a way to recover data from a directory with an invalid name?
If you encounter the “The Directory Name is Invalid” error, you can follow the steps outlined in this article to fix it. However, it is crucial to have a backup of your data to avoid potential data loss. Regularly backing up your files ensures you can recover them in case of any issues.
Hopefully, following our advice supports your efforts to get rid of the directory error. Any error like this can make us automatically assume the worst – a corrupt hard drive – but that’s rarely the case. Sometimes all it takes is updating your system or checking for repairable disk errors.
In some very uncommon situations, none of these solutions will fix the directory name is invalid. This is why we recommend Recoverit, a data recovery program.
If your hard drive is corrupt, use Recoverit to extract as much of your data as possible to avoid losing it. No matter what files you want to recover, that’s the program for the job!