Renaming a network folder in Windows 7 Explorer fails with "the action can't be completed..."

This article provides a solution to an issue where Renaming a network folder in Windows 7 Explorer fails.

Applies to:   Windows 7 Service Pack 1
Original KB number:   2025703


Steps to reproduce the issue:

  1. Map a drive to a network share that contains several subfolders that contains images files or PDFs

  2. Open an Explorer window and navigate to the parent folder.

  3. Attempt to rename each folder successively, while drilling into the subfolder contents.

  4. Continue step 3 until an error dialog containing the following text appears indicating that the subfolder cannot be renamed:
    "The action can't be completed because the folder or a file in it is open in another program. Close the file or folder and try again."


The folder rename operation fails because thumbcache.dll still has an open handle to the local thumbs.db file and does not currently implement a mechanism to release the handle to the file in a more dynamic and timely fashion.


To work around the issue, enable User Group Policy setting for "Turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files":

Policy Path      User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Explorer
Policy Setting  "Turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files"
Policy Value      Enabled


This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows

You can directly edit the registry with the following setting:

Registry path HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer
Setting Name "DisableThumbsDBOnNetworkFolders"
Type      REG_DWORD
Value     1

Another workaround is to wait approximately 1-5 minutes then retry the rename operation.