How to Delete Files on Windows 10 That Can’t be Deleted

How to Delete Files on Windows 10 That Can’t be Deleted

Windows struggles to shed its legacy. Despite undergoing significant changes and bearing no resemblance to the comical Windows XP or the super stoic Windows 7, Windows 10 still faces certain persistent issues. Corrupt files are a prime example of this.

How to Delete Files on Windows 10 That Can’t be Deleted

I’ve noticed users encountering error messages when attempting to delete files on their systems. These files claim to be ‘In Use’ despite no active applications. How can you remove these undeletable files? No need to search online; we’re here to simplify your life.

Windows 10 users can benefit from a handy tip from the Digital Citizen blog. They have published a post comparing various browsers to determine which one conserves battery life on Windows 10.

1. Try Killing the Task

I mentioned Windows’ legacy for a reason. Despite its drawbacks, it also has advantages. One thing I particularly like about Windows is the Task Manager. It provides an overview of running apps and services on your computer, allowing you to terminate services that may hinder file deletion.

For instance, if you can identify the file type yourself (e.g., Excel), locate the locked file or process in the Task Manager window, right-click it, and choose End task. Don’t worry, you won’t be able to terminate system-based tasks, even with administrator access.

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2. Delete File Using Third Party Tool

Don’t worry if you’re denied administrator access. Unlocker is a 3rd party solution that can delete files and folders that Windows won’t let you. Simply download and install Unlocker, then right-click on the files/folders and select “Unlocker.” A list of associated processes may appear, click “Unlock All” to delete the file/folder. If that doesn’t work, try “Kill Process.”

3. Delete File Using Command Prompt

This option is for those experienced with Microsoft Windows command prompts. Go to Start menu or press the Windows button on your keyboard and go to Run or just press Win+R. A tiny box will appear at the bottom right corner of your desktop.

How to Delete Files on Windows 10 That Can’t be Deleted

To open the command prompt, type “Cmd” and press Enter. Then, enter the command “del /f filename” to delete a specific file. You can also delete multiple files by separating their names with commas. To delete a folder, use the command “RD /S /Q” followed by the file path displayed in the address bar of Windows Explorer. For example, “RD /S /Q C:\Users\XXX\Premium\Folder X.”

4. Safe Boot if All Else Fails

If nothing works, Safe Boot is the ultimate savior. Only attempt this step if you’ve exhausted all other options without success. To access Safe Mode, type “msconfig” in the Windows 10 search box and go to the Boot tab in the resulting window. Choose the Safe Boot option, click Apply, and then reboot the system. Safe Mode will then automatically launch, allowing you to delete the file. To return to regular mode, go back to the MSCONFIG window, uncheck Safe boot in the boot menu, and the PC will reboot normally.

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Any Alternatives?

These options are best for removing files/folders that won’t go without a fight. If you have better alternatives, we’d like to hear back. Join us in our forums to discuss.

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