Tech Tips

Can’t Delete a File or Folder in Windows 10? Force Delete it

Unnecessary files and folders take up a lot of storage space from your devices. One of the ways for you to optimize your storage space is by frequently deleting those mentioned files and folders. This way you could have more free space. However, there are times when you would meet an issue wherein you cannot delete the file nor the folders in your Windows 10 computer no matter how much you try. To know the reason why this is happening, we suggest that you force delete the file or folder that you cannot delete. How? You came to the right place as through this article, we shall guide you and provide you tips and solutions.

If you have mistakenly deleted an important file and emptied your Recycle Bin, do not fret as you could still recover this through the free software, MiniTool Power Data Recovery https://www.minitool.com/data-recovery-software/free-for-windows.html.

MiniTool Software company is well-known for developing professional data recovery solutions, data backup utilities and disk partition management for more than ten years now. It is a trusted developer that many experts believe in. This includes TechRadar, WindowsReport, PCWorld, LifeWire, LifeHacker, PCMag.

Possible Cause for Can’t Delete File/Folder Issue

  • The file or folder is open in the system or background. 
  • “Access Denied” when you try to delete a file or folder from a mounted external drive.
  • The file or folder is in use. 
  • Recycle Bin’s space is full.
  • Malware or virus infection of the file or folder.
  • The disk is full or write-protected.
  • The file or folder is corrupted.
  • You are trying to delete computer system files that are not allowed to delete.
  • Disk failure or corruption.
  • The file or folder is read-only.
  • The Recycle Bin is corrupted.

Three Methods to Force Delete a File or Folder in Windows 10 

Force Delete a File or Folder in Windows 10 with CMD

One way you could do to force delete a file or folder is by using the CMD or command prompt. This works on Windows 10 computer, SD card, external hard drive and USB flash drive. 

Use Del command to force delete a file in CMD:
  • Go to CMD utility by clicking Start menu and type cmd. Right click on Command Prompt app and run as administrator. 
  • Type the del file path. Example: del C:\Users\mini\Desktop\test.txt
  • Press enter key. This will delete the file name, test on your desktop. If you wish to delete the file, replace the file path to its actual path. 
  •  Ensure that you place the file extension in the command (.txt, .docx, .xls) 
  • To check the fill path of the file, you could right click the file or folder, go to properties.
Use RMDIR /S /Q command to force delete a folder in CMD:
  • Go to CMD utility 
  • Type rmdir /s /q folder path example: rmdir /s /q E:\test 
  • Press Enter

Press Shift+Delete to Force Delete a File or Folder

If you think that the problem is in the Recycle Bin, select the target file for folder. Press Shift +Delete keyboard shortcut. This will permanently delete your file or folder. 

Run Windows 10 in Safe Mode to Delete the File/Folder 

Another method is by booting your Windows 10 computer to Safe Mode:

  • Start Windows 10 in Safe Mode
  • Delete the folder or file
  • Restart your computer to normal mode

Tips to fix Can’t Delete File/Folder Error

If all methods stated above do not work, you could try the following tips:

  • Close all programs
  • Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc. This will open task manager. Then, click the program or file or folder. Click end task button. 
  • Restart your computer
  • Run virus scan 
  • Right click file or folder, select properties to check the status. Ensure it is not on read-only mode. 
  • Empty the recycle bin
  • Run CHKDSK command
  • Remove write protection on SD card, USB, external hard drive
  • Run a third-party repair tool to repair corrupted file

Free File Recovery Tool to Recover Deleted/Lost Files

As mentioned earlier, MiniTool Power Data Recovery is offered for free. It is a data recovery tool which helps you recover deleted or lost files. 

Conclusion:

This concludes our guide on how to force delete a file or folder. We hope we were able to help you solve your issue or problem of not being able to delete your file or folder.

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