How to delete undeletable files & folders in Windows

At times you may find that you are just unable to delete a file or folder on your Windows computer. When you go to delete such ghost or undeletable files or folders you may get an Error message: Could not find this item.

Alternatively you may also get the following messages:

  • Cannot delete file: Access is denied
  • There has been a sharing violation.
  • The source or destination file may be in use.
  • The file is in use by another program or user
  • The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable.
  • Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected and that the file is not currently in use.

Delete undeletable files & folders

1] First reboot and see if you can delete it.  Else try in Safe Mode. Eles run ChkDsk first, and then see if you can delete it.

2] Open and elevated command prompt and:

Use the del command to delete undeletable files: del “Path of File”

Use the RMDIR or RD command to delete undeletable folders: rd /s /q “Path of Folder”

  • /S : Delete all files and subfolders in addition to the folder itself. Use this to remove an entire folder tree.
  • /Q : Quiet – do not display Y/N confirmation

Be very careful while using this method and use the correct commands.

3] If these methods fail, I suggest you download and try Unlocker.

Unlocker unlocks the file or folder if it is being used by any other program and allows you to delete it. Its explorer integration is a big help, as all you have to do is right on the undeletable folder or file and click on Unlocker.

If no locking handle is found, it will still delete the folder.

Unlocker is definitely a handy tool to have around in such circumstances.

While installing it, it comes  with a pre-checked option of installing a QuickStores toolbar for eBay, Amazon & Shopping.com.  It also places two eBay internet shortcuts on your desktop. You may want to un-check these options!

Free File Unlocker, Delete Doctor and Tizer UnLocker. are other tools that can help you delete undeletable, hidden, ghost files and folders.

These posts may interest you too:

  1. How to delete undeletable icons, files or folders on Windows desktop
  2. How to fix The file name(s) would be too long for the destination folder error message.
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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com and a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows for the period 2006-16. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.