How to Delete Undeletable Files

How do I force a file and folder? If you have the same question, read on and get 5 solutions to delete undeletable files on Windows computer.

Jul 26,2019 • Filed to: File Recovery Solutions • Proven solutions

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Cannot delete a file in Windows 10

I was deleting some unnecessary junk files and folders on my Windows computer. But somehow, my computer won't let me delete a file. How do I force delete a file in my computer? Thanks!

It is said that the administrator has access to all the operations of the computer. However, there are certain things in which even an administrator faces problem and hence it can be very frustrating. For example, a file or folder cannot be deleted, like the case. How to delete undeletable files? In this post, we will cover the reasons for and 5 ways of force deleting file and folder in Windows.

Messages Telling Why You Cannot Delete File

Undeletable files are generally spyware, malware, ad ware or Trojan files. They are also normal files which is currently being used by the system and hence prevents them being deleted. How do you know if the files are undeletable? The following messages are the signs of the undeletable, and also show the reasons.

  1. Cannot delete file: Access is denied.
  2. The file or folder is open in another program or user.
  3. The source or destination of the file may be in use.
  4. There has been a sharing violation.
  5. Make sure the disk is not full or write protected and that the file is currently not in use.

Once you get these messages, files can’t be deleted by simply pressing the Delete button, no matter how many times you try. That's why you have to force delete the files and folders. How do I force delete a file and folder? 5 Ways are introduced in the following sections.


Solution 1. Close the folder or file and try again

If you get the message showing that "The action can't be completed because a folder or a file in it is open in another program", you can delete the file or foler after following the below steps.

files cannot be deleted

To close a file, folder or an app, there are 2 ways that can help you do that easily.

Step 1 You can directly click the "x" logo on the upper right.

Step 2 Right click the app in the taskbar and choose "Close window".

Step 3 Finally, try deleting the files or folders once again.

Sometimes, you may be unable to close the files, folders or apps. The Task Manager can help you do that.

  1. Press "Ctrl + Alt + Delete" simultaneously and choose "Task Manager" to open it.
  2. Find the application where your data is in use. Select it and click "End task".
  3. Try to delete the undeletable information once again.

end task to delete undeletable file


Solution 2. Reboot the Computer

In many cases, restarting the computer is conducive to fixing many computer errors and abnormal performance, including deleting undeletable files and folders. Sometimes, the file is in the unknown progress after you open some certain applications. By rebooting the computer, you can end the tasks, close the apps and thus remove files successfully.

To restart a computer, go to the Start menu, click the Power button and choose "Restart".

restart the computer

You can also resort to the Settings to do the same.

  1. Go to the "Settings" window by clicking the gear icon in the Start menu.
  2. Go to "Update & Security" > "Recovery" > "Advanced startup" > "Restart now".

After restarting the computer, you can try deleting files or folders or move on to get another solution for removing data in Windows.


Solution 3. Use Command Prompt

This allows you to delete the undeletable files without using any third party apps. However, you need to have a bit of technical knowledge to use this method.

Step 1 Click on the "Start" button and then type "Command Prompt" or "CMD" in the search box and press the ‘Enter’ key.

Delete undeletable files with CMD

Step 2 A search result appears. Right click the "Command Prompt" icon from the search results and click on "Run as administrator" from the list that appears.

Run CMD to delete undeletable files

Step 3 This will launch the administrator level command prompt window which allows you to execute commands without any restriction.

Execute commands to remove undeletable files

The syntax of the command for deleting a file looks like below:

how to force delete a folder

Location:

  • DEL: stands for delete option
  • /F: stands for force delete option
  • /Q: stands for quite mode option.
  • /A: stands for various file attributes such as read-only, hidden, ready for archiving, etc.
  • /C: stands for your main drive. In most of the cases, it is the "C:" drive

Step 4 For example you need to delete a file named "virus.exe" present in the desktop. Enter the command as shown and press the "Enter" key to force delete the file from the system.

force delete a file


Solution 4. Use FileASSASIN

FileASSASIN is a free program that is used to delete undeletable files from your system. You can download it by searching it from your browser or by clicking on the link: http://fileassassin.en.softonic.com/

Step 1 Once you have downloaded FileASSASIN, open the program by double clicking on its icon. The main interface of the program looks like as shown below:

Use FileASSASIN to force delete a folder

Step 2 Now click on the browse icon (rectangular shaped icon with three dots adjacent to blank space) to select the files you want to delete.

select and delete files that cannot be deleted

Step 3 Browse for the file you want to delete and then double click on it to select it. Once you have select the file to be deleted, click on the box adjacent to "Delete file" option to select it. A blue tick indicates that the option has been selected.

click the Delete file option

Step 4 Finally click on the "Execute" option to delete the file. Your file will now be deleted.

Execute to delete Undeletable Files


Solution 5. Replace the Undeletable File

One of the simplest way of deleting an undeletable file can be done by simply replacing it with other file of same name and extension. This can be done very easily as shown below. Suppose file named "SoftwareU" is my undeletable file.

Step 1 Open a new notepad file on your system and simply type anything random in it. Now, click on the "File" option and then click on "Save as".

Delete Undeletable Files by Save as

Step 2 Now, select the save location of the notepad as same as where the undeletable files are present. After doing so, choose the file type as "All files" under "Save as type" option.

how to force delete a file

Step 3 Now, click on the undeletable file once so that the name of the undeletable file will be copied in the "File name" option. Add the quotation mark at the start and end of the file name as shown below and the click on ‘Save’ option.

Step 4 Now, a message will pop up asking "Do you want to overwrite and replace the existing file?". Click on "Yes" and the undeletable file will be automatically replaced by the new notepad file. Now, you can delete the notepad file by simply selecting it and pressing the "Delete" button.


Closing Words

So far, you might have get rid of undeletable files and folders successfully by means of the above 5 solutions. Before leaving the page, we have a few of the tips and tricks for you.

1. It is generally advised to have an antivirus program in your system, which is up to date to prevent your system from malware, spyware and virus which create unnecessary undeletable files.

2. It is generally better to take the advice of an expert before performing unknown system operations.

3. If you lost data on your computer unfortunately, don't worry! You still have the chance to get lost data back. To recover files from computer, Recoverit Data Recovery is a nice option for all of you. It is able to recover deleted files in different formats and types.

Amy Dennis

staff Editor

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