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 &  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.
Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse aka HappyAndyK is an end-user Windows enthusiast, a Microsoft MVP in Windows, since 2006, and the Admin of 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.
  • trm96

    So glad they have an x64 version.

  • JCF

    I tested a few weeks ago and worked good, however had to do the steps like 3 or 4 times before it worked.

  • Kevin

    LockHunter is a good alternative. Supports 64 bit as well.

  • Gregg DesElms

    Unlocker has no rival. Believe me, I’ve tested them all. I’ve been using Unlocker for years, and I’ve never had to repeat steps.

  • Sro

    1. i choise to show unlocker in “send to” menu, and not in the main menu, for performance. (you can change it in settings, and at installed.
    2. is there times, that unlocker not work (i mean, can’t delete), so i use delete of is360, it’s very good delete tool. but i like more unlocker because it’s quicker, and because…
    3. if you not change it (delete from start up menu), unlocker jump a window when delete or name changing are faild!

  • valamas

    My IE8 is reporting that the unlocker site.

    “Reported Unsafe Website: Navigation Blocked”

    I have continued through though.

  • alvin

    I agree with valamas, my ie8 reported the same..

  • derekKinny saved me lot of time for solving this problem

  • Salman
    Long path tool
    Try this

  • Atif11

    Thank you so much

  • Rhonda

    Its too bloody expensive!

  • Tony Morcom

    This utility did in seconds what I have been trying to do off and on for months. Absolutely excellent and highly recommended. Thank you

  • gregory

    I also got this error thrice so i have searched many softwares and methods for these kind of errors. Finally I found one software called Long Path Tool which is solution for such kind of errors.

  • Kerem

    Had files that presumably generated from an old virus that just could not be deleted. Unlocker removed it withing seconds.

  • Aftab Rizvi

    still unable to delete an image which can’t be opened too it says “The file name you specified is not valid or too long. Specify a different file name.”

  • Anand Khanse
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