Deleting a file or folder in Windows 10 is generally quite easy. You just have to right-click on the item you want to delete, and from the context menu, select the Delete option. And for permanently deleting an item, select it and press Shift+delete keys.
However, some files or folders are stubborn. Whatever you do, how many times you do, they won’t get deleted. Usually, they show ‘Folder/File In Use’ error.
It means that any other application is using that file. Or the folder is containing a file that is being used by another program. When a file is in use, it cannot be deleted until the program which is using that file is closed. It must be frustrating if you could not find the program that is preventing the file from being deleted.
Well, you need not worry anymore. We are presenting two simple methods by which you can easily force delete the files and folders used by an application.
Delete Items using Command Prompt
On Windows, where would you go to perform the otherwise hard to execute tasks? The answer is quite simple – Command Prompt.
For Windows users, when the going gets tough, the Command Prompt gets going. Using Command Prompt, you can delete any folder or file; it does not matter whether an application is using it. And that too with just a single command line.
In this example, a folder would be deleted using cmd. Here are the steps to do it.
- Copy the Path
Copy the path of the folder which you want to delete
- Run Command Prompt as Admin
Type Command Prompt on Windows search box. Right-click on its icon and select Run as Administrator.
- Reach to the Desired Drive
On command prompt first, reach to the drive where the folder which you want to delete is present. Type “F:“, in place of ‘F’, put your drive letter.
- Reach To the Desired Path
Now execute this command to reach the path where that folder is present:
- Execute the Command
Execute the following command to delete the folder:
del /s /q “Undeletable”.
In this case, we are deleting the folder named Undeletable. You can put the file name, which you are deleting in place of Undeletable, along with its extension. For example, if you are deleting a zip file, do not forget to write .zip after the filename.
- Folder Deleted
After executing the command, if the folder gets deleted, the following message would be shown:
Note that the file Undeletable.exe was inside the folder Undeletable, so it also gets deleted.
Delete Items in Safe Mode
In Safe Mode, most of the applications are stopped, so there is an excellent chance to delete a file that could not be deleted because an application is using it.
1. On your Windows 10 system, enter the safe mode. Go to Start -> Settings -> Update & Security -> Recovery -> Restart now(under Advanced Startup) to enter the Windows recovery environment.
2. After the PC restarts, you would be on Choose an option screen. Select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart
3. In the Startup Settings, press F6 to enter Safe Mode with Command Prompt.
4. After entering the Safe Mode, perform the normal delete action. Your files should have been deleted.
Final Words and FAQs
These are the top two tested methods to force delete a folder or file in Windows 10. Before performing the deletion, make sure that the folder or file you are going to delete is not essential. Once deleted, it won’t be recovered.
To delete the undeletable folder, follow any of the two methods mentioned in this guide. These methods are self-tested on Windows 10 version 1909.
The procedure to delete a stubborn file is the same as deleting a folder. In place of the folder name, type the file name with its extension to delete it.
The reason you are not able to delete a file on Windows 10 is that an active application of Windows may use that file.