According to my understanding of the Windows filesystem, a program can read a file according to its path, if this path is changed, then whatever program used to read this file, can no longer do so. This would mean that, to any programs in the windows system that depend on a file, the consequences of deleting and renaming a file must be the same.
The specific case that this answer depends on is an embedded system running on Windows 2000, the service provider manual guides the user to delete the files inside a folder. As a wary user, I simply copied the files to a path called "folder_backup", and left folder empty.
During this operation, the system regressed and was unable to function correctly. So the service provider that wrote the manual was called. Their diagnostic was that the database was corrupted because there were 2 databases in parallel, pointing to "folder_backup" as the second database. To my understanding, the files inside "D:/folder_backup" would have been inert, barring the exceptional case of a program looking for folders starting with "folder" or reading all contents in the "D:/" file.
In what non-obscure ways can a renamed file still be accessed by a system, that would have otherwise been impossible were the file deleted?