How to Force Delete a File or Folder on Windows 7/10/8.1?

You need to frequently delete unnecessary files and folders to optimize the storage space of your computer. However, many users have reported that they are unable to delete a file or folder. Most of the time, if a file or folder is being opened or used by another application, windows will mark the file or folder in the locked state. As a result, you can’t delete it. In this situation, you have to forcibly delete the locked files. Are you looking for ways to force delete a file or folder? Then keep an eye on the guide and try the given methods to force delete a file or folder on Windows.

Root Causes of “ Can’t Delete File/Folder” Error

Before we focus on the ways to force delete files or folders on your computer, let’s have a look at the possible causes for the specific error:

  • Disk Corruption or Failure
  • If the file is open either by Windows background apps or programs.
  • Access Denied when you try to remove a file
  • If the Recycle Bin is corrupted
  • If the file or folder is affected by a virus or malware

These are the possible causes that can be responsible for the error. Now, let’s have a look at the possible fixes for this error.

Methods To Force Delete a File or Folder on Windows 7,8, 8.1, and 10

Have a glance at the under mention section and try the methods to force delete a file or folder on Windows.

Method 1: Force Delete Files/Folders Using Command Prompt

force delete a file or folder

 

According to experts, you can force delete files/folders using command prompt. Here’s the tutorial:

1. Use DEL Command

The first thing that you have to do is to type “cmd” within the given field and hit the Enter key. This will open the Command Prompt window. Right-click on it and choose Run as Administrator from the list of options. 

Enter “ del C:\Users\mini\Desktop\test.txt” within the specific field as well as hit the Enter key in order to execute the command. 

[ Note: Be sure that the file extension contains the “ txt, .docx, .xls” commands. You can also right-click on the folder and select Properties from the list of options.]

2. Run “ RMDIR/s/Q” Command

Again open a Command Prompt window. Type “ rmdir /s /q folder path” within the input field as well as hit the Enter key. It will delete the “test” folder in the USB drive. Bear in mind, you have to replace the “ folder path” with the path of the target folder. 

Close the window and reboot your device. Check if you are able to delete the file or not. Unfortunately, if not, try the next method. 

Method 2: Press Delete, Shit Keys Simultaneously

force delete a file or folder on Windows

If the issue happens due to the Recycle Bin, you are advised to press the Delt and Shift keys simultaneously and permanently delete the folder from your device. 

Method 3: Run Windows on Safe Mode

Still dealing with the same error? We recommend you delete files/folders in Safe Mode. Here’s how to do so:

1. Press Restart and Shift Keys Together

When you boot up your device in Windows, you will be able to see the Sign-in screen. And if you enter the password, the normal screen will appear on the LED screen. But, here’s how to open your device in Safe Mode. 

  • The first thing that you have to do is to press and hold the Shift key on the keyboard.
  • Keep holding the Shift key and tap on the Power button. Navigate to the bottom right corner and choose Restart from the list of options. 
  • Instantly, lots of options will pops-up on the screen. From there, click on the Troubleshoot option. 
  • Under Troubleshoot, use the drop-down arrow and click on the Advanced option. 
  • Go to the Startup Settings window. Many times, the option might not appear on the screen. In this case, go to the See More Recovery tab and select it. 
  • If a confirmation message appears on the LED screen. Click on Yes. 
  • Select the Safe Mode type and delete files/folders in Safe Mode

2. Interrupt the Normal Boot Process Three Times in a Row

If you are not comfortable with the above method, you can interrupt the boot-up to fix folder won’t delete Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 issues. Here’s the process:

  • Press the Restart or Power button while the computer starts. 
  • Keep holding the Power button for at least 4 seconds. 

This will interrupt the process three times. Once done, you will need to do the following things:

  • Choose an Account via which you can make the required changes. Keep in mind, the account needs administrator permissions.
  • After choosing the account, navigate to the Automatic Repair window, and choose the Advanced option. Proceed to the Troubleshoot window. Under here, navigate to the bottom and click on the Advanced option. 
  • Under the Advanced tab, click on the Startup Settings tab and then tap on the Restart option. 
  • Finally, choose the Safe Mode type through which you want to start the computer. 

3. Use a Window Installation Drive

Force delete files/folders using command prompt

You can also use a windows installation drive to launch Safe Mode. Check out the given steps to open your computer into the Safe mode. 

  • First, you have to create an OS installation drive and then boot your device. 
  • When the installation window appears on the screen. Choose your language and then click on Next. 
  • A new window will appear on the display. Choose Command Prompt and enter “ bcedit /set {default} safeboot minimal” within the given field. 
  • Click on the Continue option. When finished, your device will open in the Safe Mode. 

4. Use System Configuration Tool

Delete files/folder in Safe Mode

You can use the Windows in-build System Configuration tool to boot your device into the Safe mode. This is how you can do so:

  • Enter System Configuration within the Search Bar as well as press the Enter key. Instantly, the System Configuration window will appear on the display. Run it as an administrator. 
  • Under the System Configuration window, navigate to the bottom and select Boot Tab. 
  • Within the Boot Options Category, mark the dialogue box beside the Safe Boot option and then tap on OK. 

After that, reboot your computer. After that, force delete a file or folder in the Safe Mode. 

Method 4: Repair Disk Errors

This is another effective method that you can try to force delete a file or folder on Windows. So, first, click on the Start Menu and right-click on the disk on which the files you want to remove. Use the drop-down menu and select Properties. 

Navigate to the Tool tab. Under here, scroll down and click on the Check option. Now, if there’s an error on the disk, Windows will automatically troubleshoot it. 

Some Other Useful Tips to Force Delete a File or Folder

Apart from using CMD or repairing disk errors to force delete a file or folder, you can try the following tips to successfully delete a file or folder on Windows:

Tip 1:

force delete files or folders on your computer

Simultaneously press the Esc, Shift and Ctrl keys to open the Task Manager window. Under here, drop down and choose all the suspicious programs. Right-click on each of these and choose End Task from the list of options. 

Tip 2:

Close Background Apps

Close all the running background apps. For that, type ‘background apps’ in the search bar. Press the Enter key. Under the Background App tab. Choose all the running apps. Right-click on them and click on Stop. 

Tip 3:  

force delete files or folders on your computer

 

Enter Settings within the search box as well as press the Enter key. Within Settings, drop-down and click on the Update & Security tab. From there, navigate to the Windows Security Settings window. Now, under the Current Threats tab, drop down and click on the Quick Scan option. Wait for a couple of minutes and let the process complete. When finished, reboot your device. 

Tip 4: 

Right-click on the specific file or folder and choose Properties from the list of options. Check the status. Be sure it’s not read-only. 

Tip 5:

folder won't delete windows 7

You can also run the CHKDSK command to force delete a file or folder. So, first, tap on the Start icon and choose My Computer from the available options. The next thing you have to do is to right-click on the Hard Drive to scan and after that, tap on the Properties option. 

Navigate to the Local Disk Properties window. Under here, drop down and click on the Tools tab. Hit on Check Now. Proceed to the Disk Local Disk window and mark the box beside the Automatically fix file system errors option. Again click on the Start option. 

 

Read more,

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Easy Ways to Resolve GeForce Experience Error Code 0x0003

 

Conclusion

Many users have reported that they are often unable to delete a file or folder from Windows. Are you one of those and searching for ways to force delete a file or folder on Windows? Let’s have a look at this guide and apply the methods to delete a folder or file.

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