You must delete unnecessary files and folders frequently to maximize the storage space on computers and other media storage devices. However, sometimes you may encounter the issue that no matter how many times you try, you are unable to delete a file or folder on your Windows 10 computer. Below are some tips and solutions to help you figure out why a file or folder cannot be erased in Windows 10.
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Reasons why you might not be able to delete the file
You cannot delete the file because it is open.
- You can’t delete the file because it is being used.
- The file may be used by another program or system process. You can’t delete the file because it is in use.
- When you try to delete a file or folder from an external drive, you receive the error “Access Denied.”.
- The disk is full or write-protected. The disk failed or was corrupt.
- The file or folder is read-only.
- A file or folder that you are trying to delete is blocked from deletion.
- The Recycle Bin is corrupted.
- The Recycle Bin has run out of space.
- The file or folder is infected with malware or a virus.
Force Delete a file in Windows 10 by using CMD
Regardless of the reasons why you cannot delete the file or folder, you can try the two methods below to force remove the file or folder.
This is because you are sure that it is useless. Windows 10 computers, SD cards, USB flash drives, external hard drives, etc., can be forced to delete files or folders using the CMD (Command Prompt).
- The CMD utility can be accessed by clicking the Start menu, typing cmd, or right-clicking the Command Prompt app and selecting Run as administrator.
- To execute the command, type the following command line in the Command Prompt window: del file path, such as del C:/Users/mini/Desktop/test.txt.
- The file “test” on my desktop has been erased.
- Replace the “file path” with the actual path to the target file.
- When using CMD, you can forcibly delete a folder by typing the rmdir /s /q folder path, for example, rmdir /s /q E:/test, and pressing Enter after entering the Command Prompt window.
- This deletes the folder named “test” on my USB drive. Replace the “folder path” with the target folder’s actual path.
Use Shift + Delete to force delete a file or folder
To permanently delete a file without running it through the Recycle Bin, select it, then press the Shift + Delete keyboard shortcut. This will bypass the Recycle Bin.
Run Windows 10 in Safe Mode To Delete Files/Folders.
You can try to delete a file or folder in Safe Mode if you are unable to do so in Windows 10. You might find this useful if you are not sure what process uses the file, or if you have malware or viruses on your computer. If you cannot delete the file or folder, you can start Windows 10 in Safe Mode. Once you have returned to normal mode, restart your computer.
10 Other Tips to Fix the Error.
You can try other methods of deleting the file or folder in Windows 10 besides using CMD to force delete it.
- Close all open programs that might be using the file or folder.
- Open Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc. Select suspicious programs and click End task.
- Restart your computer.
- Scan your entire computer for viruses.
- Run a virus scan for the file or folder.
- Select Properties from the right-click menu to check the status of the file or folder. Make sure it isn’t read-only.
- Empty the Recycle Bin to let the Recycle Bin free up space.
- Check and fix disk errors using the CHKDSK command.
- Remove write protection from SD cards, USB drives, and external hard drives.
- Use a third-party file repair tool to fix corrupted files.
FAQ – How to Force Delete a File or Folder
Are you having trouble deleting a file or folder on your computer or another storage device? CMD is now available in Windows 10 for forcing the deletion of files and folders. A total of ten other tips are provided to help you resolve the issue with file deletion failures.