How to Force Delete Files and Folders Using CMD in Windows

The command prompt (CMD) in Windows is a very powerful tool. For everyday use, you may never need to use the command prompt. However, if you need to do something more, it is your best option. Sometimes you may not be able to delete files or folders using the Windows Explorer. This may be due to a virus or some other underlying cause which may be locking the files or folders and preventing their deletion. In such cases, you can use CMD to delete those files or folders.

There are also several free tools (for example IObit Unlocker) that will unlock files and folders and allow you to delete them using the Explorer. Using such applications is an option but if you do not want to install an additional application, you can always use the command prompt to do the job.

While using the command prompt, it is necessary to exercise caution. This is because if you accidentally delete system files, your computer may become inoperable. You may have to reinstall the operating system to rectify the problem. Therefore, it is necessary to be careful by using the command prompt.

Here are instructions to post delete files and folders using CMD in Windows.

How to delete a single file

Open the command prompt by typing “CMD” in the search field in the taskbar and clicking on “Command Prompt”. Navigate to the folder containing the file to be deleted by using the ‘cd’ command. Type the following command in the command prompt:

DEL /F /Q /A name_of_the_file

/F stands for force delete
/Q will not show Y/N confirmation and will delete the files silently
/A selects only the files with ready for archiving attribute

Alternatively, you can also use the file path directly. For example you can type:

DEL /F /Q /A C:\Users\HP1\Documents\file.txt

If the file is deleted, you will not see any error message.

How to delete a folder

Open the command prompt by typing “CMD” in the search field in the taskbar and clicking on “Command Prompt”. Navigate to the folder containing the folder to be deleted by using the ‘cd’ command. Type the following command in the command prompt:

RD /S /Q name_of_the_folder

RD stands for remove directory.

/S causes the deletion of all subfolders and files

/Q will not show Y/N confirmation and will delete the files silently

Alternatively, you can also use the folder path directly. For example you can type:

RD /S /Q C:\Users\HP1\Documents\folder1

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7 Replies to “How to Force Delete Files and Folders Using CMD in Windows”

  1. Access denied on a lot even with Admin rights and Run As Admin in CMD. These are in the Windows.old folder

  2. Doesn’t work, I have a .EXE file and a folder I’m trying to delete and it says “access denied” for one and the other it says “process cannot access file because it is currently in use” and I know it is NOT being used.

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