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7 Solutions to Delete a File or Folder Showing Error “Access Is Denied”

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Mar 07, 2024 • Filed to: Recover Files • Proven solutions

Master the CMD Force Delete Folder Access Denied helping you in your daily file/folder management. Managing files and folders is a critical part of fair computer resource usage. It is deleting files and folders that are not useful that form part of the best practice in computers. However, on rare occasions, you are slapped back with the error "Access Denied" upon effecting a delete command.

So what can you do in such instances? Stay tuned to this piece to help you unravel the masterly techniques to handle the situations. First off, computers rely on codes, and giving warnings such as "Access Denied" are not implications that they are super-humans. Then arm yourself with the right knowledge by gaining comprehensive tips regarding the error. Read on and capture key steps on CMD Force Delete Folder Access Denied.

Part 1: Causes of "Access Denied" When You Delete Folders

The error mainly arises due to the failure of the Recycle Bin to comprehend mounted volume drives. As such, Windows explorer attempts to shift the locations of the file into the Recycle Bin without success.

File permissions are a common cause of the error. In some cases, encryptions of file or folder contents may also cause the error to show up. On rare occasions, the error may arise when folder ownership rights change over time.

Have you upgraded or made updates to Windows versions. It happens that the error may show up when files are located in the Windows old folder from a previous install of the OS.

Undeletable folders/files may arise if the contents in them are running via respective applications. Saving and closing the folders/files are given higher priority - for data protection reasons.

On a short note, you cannot delete an open file /folder. You have to close it first- and any application files residing within the target folders.

Part 2: 7 Solutions to Folder Showing Error "Access Denied" and Delete Files

Here we will show you the most effective 7 ways to fix folder showing error "Access Denied" and delete the files.

Method 1. Run CMD Force Delete Folder Access Denied

This will help you to Delete undeletable files/folders using Command Prompt. Command Prompt is a reliable disk tool for your folder and file management. CMD is excellent if you use it correctly. When misused, users may regret losing unquantifiably. With great care, CMD is beneficial. Do not fear, though. Follow the steps with due care.

Here is the step by step process of deleting a file/folder that is undeletable:

  1. First, open CMD: press the start button and type in "CMD," select open.
  2. CMD needs to know the exact location of the file that is undeletable(in other words, the file path)
  3. You can locate the path by looking up the properties of a folder or a file. Windows explorer will show you the pathway.

Pro-Tip: Windows Explorer will show you the path in short form. But you require the long-form for CMD. Also, run your CMD as an administrator- you select that right before starting it.

  1. Click into the Windows Explorer address bar ad you can get the Preselected long-form address.
  2. Copy your file location address and now get back to your CMD.
  3. Type in "cd /d" (that is the command to change directory )+(paste the file path). Next, press the enter key.
  4. CMD lists all the files and folders relating to the path you provided.
  5. Next, locate the folder via CMD.
  6. Finally, remove/delete the folder by typing in the command "rmdir /q /s FILE/FOLDER-NAME."
  7. In my case: "rmdir /q /s DELETE THIS" and pressing the Enter Key.

rmdir command via cmd

Looking at the image above, a DIR query for the Bado folder indicates an empty folder (with no folder: DELETE THIS)

Method 2. Closing all programs with task manager

Part of deleting a file or folder-forcibly require due check if there's any running program or associated with a folder or its contents.

Windows protocol locks deletion of files/folders with editing modes being active.

Launch your task manager: Right-click on the taskbar and see the option to launch it

Once the task manager is up and running, check through the task's running. For instance, if you are running any spreadsheets, check if you can see Excel-related jobs within the schedule. If an application is associated \with the file/folder/application you are running, close it first.

NB: If you close a program that freezes your computer, ensures you do a restart or system restore after that. Try deleting the file/folder before embarking on other tasks.

Method 3. Deleting Undeletable Files/Folders by Running a Third-Party Program

Note: Instead of the CMD Force Delete Folder Access Denied (Explore third party applications - use Unlocker)

There are helpful third-party programs to help users delete files/ folders forcibly. A good example is Unlokcker.

Caution: While Unlocker is helpful, you need to notice the advertisements that run on their site as a user. In adverse situations, you may fall into the trap of malware and adware ending up on your PC in an attempt to delete a file or folder forcibly.

  1. Unlocker is pretty easy to use. Download and run the installer pack.

unlocker wizard

  1. As earlier mentioned, take due diligence while downloading third-party apps from online sites. Get the installer packs from credibly vetted hosts.

Hint: Disallow the installation of web browser tools and toolbars for Unlocker or related software.

  1. When the installation is over, launch Unlocker.
  2. Next, right-click on the file you need to delete forcibly, and Unlocker will display all the processes associated with the file.
  3. Select the applications/processes you want to terminate and hit the "Kill Task Button."
  4. Upon terminating all the associated tasks, delete the file with ordinary ease.

Method 4. Use ProcessExplorer to identify which program locks the file

Undeletable files are mostly locked by processes hidden from the ordinary eye. It is using the tool ProcessExplorer. It's an application that spots the handles and DLLs with current process links to the undeletable file.

ProcessExplorer helps users get a more in-depth view of the working linkage between Windows OS and the already running applications.

You can spot a process locking a file you are attempting to delete. Terminating the process gives you the green light to delete the seemingly undeletable files.

Method 5. Remove file on Windows boot via PendingFileRenameOperations

N/B: This process will help you CMD Force Delete Folder Access Denied

PendingFileRenameOperations Registry Value is also helpful in force deleting stubborn/locked files at the startup stage of an OS.

It's the best alternative would be starting up in a safe mode. But what if you are accessing the PC only remotely?

Here are the easy steps to force-move a file to startup or delete a file:

  1. Open or launch your Registry Editor and go to HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager.
  2. By Right-clicking on a pane to the right pane, you'll enable adding a new Multi-String Value and also give it the name.
  3. Next, you Double click the newly created PendingFileRenameOperations Your target is to edit it. Ideally, enter the full path to the file under the deletion mark. Note that you start the command with the string \??\
  4. (For instance. \??\C:\file-name-to delete.exe) it's best to use quotation marks, which applies to cases where the file path has no spaces.
  5. Nest, you click OK, and the value editor's window will close.
  6. Proceed to right-click on the PendingFileRenameOperations Next, and select the Modify Binary Data option.
  7. Locate the end of the value data and type in four zeroes (00 00 ) and press OK:

pendingfilenameoperations registry interphase

Do a restart. The computer will delete the file you specified files- and that will also happen for the PendingFileRename Operations Registry value you provided.

Method 6. Safe Mode Boot for Windows

Starting Windows in safe mode is one of the handiest trouble-shooting techniques at your disposal.

Essentially, the safe mode allows startup procedures to run fast and independently. All applications are held at bay, giving users a sneak view of the OS's performance and health.

Older versions (Windows 8 and earlier) require users to press the F8 key concurrently, and safe mode will prompt. Press Shift + F8 for later versions (Windows 10 inclusive) have better versions with the automatic repair modes.

Practically, if you confirm that things are OK, the highest probability is - that the undeletable file has no linkage to the malfunctioning OS.

Bonus Tip: How To Recover Deleted Files Or Folders By Accident?

Data losses in our everyday computer users are expected. And it rises from a host of reasons.

It may occur after effecting the CMD Force Delete Folder Access Denied

Luckily though, as tech advances, there are surefire ways to ensure you remain afloat, even when the crazy instances hit you.

The easiest way to recover deleted files is by use of Recoverit.

First, Recoverit is superb software. Aside from helping you get back your lost files and folders, there are several other helpful features with it.

It works fine, whether you are on Windows or MacOs.

In my case, for recovering files/folders I deleted by accident, I will: select a recovery location - C drive is OK.

computer data recovery

  1. Launch a scan for the deleted files/folders. Allow ample time for Recoverit to populate all the files/folders.
  2. Preview the recovered files/folders to confirm the presence of the lost data.
  3. Save all my lost/recovered files in a safe storage device.


Under some circumstances, you can never delete some files. This is because they could be infected with malware, adware, or Trojans. The other issue with undeletable files/folders arises due to failing termination due to an ongoing process. However, you can try the above methods to solve this issue.

Recoverit author

Eleanor Reed

staff Editor

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