How To Fix Windows 10 Can’t Delete Folder Or File

You should delete redundant folders and files in order to save storage space on your PC. But because of some reasons, your Windows 10 system cannot delete specific folders or files. In this blog, we will discuss the reasons behind the Windows system’s inability to remove folders or files and solutions. Using this guide you should be able to delete folders that can not be deleted by Windows 10 System.

Reasons Behind Windows 10 can’t Delete Folders Or Files

  • You don’t have permission to delete the folder.
  • When you try to delete folders or files from some external device You might face “access denied”.
  • The folder or file is being used by some program.
  • The recycle bin has no space.
  • You might face problems with corrupted files and folders.
  • The folder is infected by malware.
  • There are some system files on your PC which are disabled to delete by your system settings.
  • The file or folder is read-only.
  • The disk is corrupted.
  • The name of the file is too long.

Solutions for Windows 10 Can’t Delete Folder Issue:

Before applying any of the methods to delete folders that can not be deleted you should reboot your PC once and then try to delete that folder using normal methods.

1. Use Command Prompt To Force Delete Folders:

If you are not able to delete folders by normal methods then you should try deleting them using the command prompt. You just need to have the required command lines and your work will be done.

Follow these steps:

Step 1: Go to the start menu and type “cmd”. Right-click on the result and choose “run as administrator”.

Step 2: Copy the path of the folder you want to delete. To get the folder location or path right-click on the folder and go to properties.

find folder path To delete folder

Step 3: Once you have got the folder path you need to use the “rmdir” command.

Note: “rmdir” command will delete files permanently and the files can not be recovered. So, use this command carefully.

Step 4: The command line to delete folders would be-

rmdir /s “C:\Users\username\Desktop\MyFolder”

cmd delete folders
Image Source: howtogeek

So, these were the commands to delete folders on Windows that can not be deleted.

2. Try Shift+Del To Delete Folder That Can’t Be Deleted

This is the Windows shortcut key to delete files or folders permanently.

You just need to select the folder and click shift+Delete simultaneously and the files will be deleted permanently from your computer.

Also Read: 10 Best Duplicate File Finder And Remover For Windows 10 PC [Free/Paid]

3. Empty The Recycle Bin

It is possible that your Windows 10 computer cannot delete folders because the recycle bin has no space. As we all know, the files we delete with a mouse or “delete” button go to the recycle bin. From where we can restore files or folders.

You need to empty the recycle bin to fix this problem. Just right-click on the recycle bin icon on your desktop and click the option “Empty Recycle Bin”. Now all of the files in the recycle bin will be deleted permanently and the recycle bin will be empty.

Now try to delete files or folders that Windows 10 could not delete.

empty recycle bin to delete folders that can't be deleted
Image Source: Microsoft

4. Run Windows 10 in Safe Mode To Delete folders Windows 10 Can’t Delete

You need to start Windows 10 in safe mode to remove folders that Windows 10 is unable to remove. To start Windows 10 in safe mode follow these steps-

Step 1: Press shift and Click on the Start button at once.

Step 2: Go to power and then click restart.

Step 3: Now click on Troubleshoot and go to Advanced options.

Step 4: After this go click on “startup settings”.

Step 5: Now click on Restart and enter the Win-RE.

Step 6: Now click on F5, F4, Or F6 keys to start Windows 10 in safe mode.

Now you have entered safe mode. Go to the folder and try to delete it. In the safe mode, you should be able to delete folders Windows 10 couldn’t delete before.

If not then follow the next methods.

5. Change The Ownership Of The File or Folder to Force Delete It

Sometimes you can not delete a folder or file on Windows 10 because you are not the owner of them. To fix this, you need to log in as the administrator and change the ownership of the folder or file.

To change the ownership follow these steps-

Step 1: Right-click on the desired folder.

Step 2: Go to “Properties

Step 3: Go to the “Security” tab

Step 4: Now you will see an option to “Edit” the ownership of the file.

Delete undeletable folders

Step 5: Now click on the user and then “Add” to give permission for that folder.

add user

These were the steps to take ownership of a particular folder. Now restart your PC and log in.

Now go and try to delete that folder that Windows was not able to delete before. This should fix your Windows 10 can’t delete folder issue.

6. Close The Folder Or File

Sometimes when you try to delete a folder you will see a pop-up message that the folder can not be deleted because it is open. So, just close the folder and try deleting it.

7. Close the Programs To Delete Folder That Won’t Delete

Sometimes you can not delete the file or folder because it is being used by some program. You just need to close the program.

Sometimes the program keeps running in the background and you are unaware of it. You can close such programs with the help of the task manager. Follow these steps to use the task manager to close a program.

Press ctrl+alt+delete at once and a new window will open. Here you will see the option “start task manager”. Click on it and a new window will pop up. This is the task manager. Here you just need to select the program and click on “End task”.

close program with task manager and delete folder and files

Note: While using task manager be sure that you are not closing any important program. This could create problems on your PC. Only close the programs that you know about.

After closing the program you should go to the folder or file and try deleting it.

8. Check Settings In Your Antivirus Program

You might have downloaded an antivirus program to keep your computer safe. Sometimes, the antivirus program marks some files and folders as protected so no one can delete those files and folders. If you are trying to delete a folder that contains the file which is protected by your antivirus program then you will not be able to delete it.

To fix this problem you need to remove the protected tag from these files. You can do this from the settings in your antivirus program.

So, these were the fixes for Windows 10 cannot delete a folder or file. After applying these methods you should be able to delete any folder on your Windows 10 PC. If you have a better way to force delete the folders then please share it in the comment section.


Question: Does rm * command remove all files?

Answer: yes, it will remove all the files available in the directory. And these files will be deleted permanently. To make files unrecoverable you can use file shredders.

Question: How do I delete a folder using the Command Prompt?

Answer: To use Command Prompt you need to know the right commands. The command line to delete folders is rmdir /s “folder path”

Question: How do I delete corrupted files on Windows 10?

Answer: You can use Command Prompt to remove corrupted files.

Question: Is there any software to force delete folders and files?

Answer: Yes, there are many software available you can use “Wise Force Deleter” for free to delete folders and files.

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