How to delete files that cannot be deleted in Windows

Do you want to delete a file or folder, but Windows is giving you an error message that the operation is not possible? In this article, we will review how to delete files that cannot be deleted in Windows, as there are several tips that we will give you to overcome this problem.

The item was not found, the file could not be deleted, the file opened in another program … You probably already have this kind of error message. This is the kind of situation that is bothering you, and it can even drive you crazy. Without understanding the cause, after a wrong or wrong treatment, we end up with an impossible file or folder to delete in Windows Explorer.

Sometimes it happens that it is impossible to move or rename … Fortunately, there are some tips to get around these annoying messages.

Why does Windows refuse to delete a file?

There are several reasons why Windows cannot delete a file or folder:
– The file or folder you want to delete is already in use by an application.
– The folder to be deleted contains hidden files or sub-folders.
– The file or folder is read-only.
– There is a problem with the storage media or the file system has errors.
– The computer is infected with a virus.
– The file or folder to be deleted was created by another Windows 10 user who did not allow the delete rights.
اعتمادًا على الحالة ، قد يتم عرض

Various error messages :

– Error deleting the file or folder.
– The file could not be deleted: Access is denied.
– The item does not exist.
– Participation violation.
– This action cannot be performed because the file is open in another program.
– Check that the disk is not full or write-protected and that the file is not currently in use.

There are many solutions to tackle different deletion problems. But not all of them work constantly, and sometimes you have to try several of them before you find the right method, starting with the simplest.

1) Close everything and restart your computer

Windows sometimes displays the error message: The file is in use. This action cannot be performed because the file is open in another program. Close the file and try again.

First check that your file is not actually being used by an application with a hidden or minimized window
If so, close the application in question and try to delete the file again.
– If the file is not used or is resisting, close all open applications and restart the computer. This will ensure that the file is not loaded into memory. This is the first reaction when facing a rebellious file.
After restarting, try to delete the file – or folder – normally.
If this method fails – this is the easiest – then move on to trying another method.

2) Delete the stubborn file using copy and paste

Another way to delete files that cannot be deleted in Windows is to try to replace it with a file with the same name, forcing Windows to overwrite it.

Open a window with Windows Explorer. Right-click on an empty area and select New from the context menu, then click Text Document from the cascading submenu.

طريقة حذف الملفات التي لا يمكن حذفها في Windows

– A new .txt file is created immediately.
– Double-click on the file name (or use the F2 key), then select the full name with the extension to change it and name it exactly as the file to be deleted, with the same extension (.docx, .avi,. Xlsx, .mp3, etc.).

طريقة حذف الملفات التي لا يمكن حذفها في Windows


Windows displays a warning window asking if you really want to change the extension. Click OK to validate.

Drag or copy and paste the renamed file into the folder in which the undeletable file is located.
Windows will then display a warning window indicating that a file with the same name exists in the chosen destination and asking you to choose an action. Click Replace Destination File.

طريقة حذف الملفات التي لا يمكن حذفها في Windows

If all goes well, the stubborn file is erased, overwritten by replacing it, and you just have to delete it normally!

3) Delete stubborn file in safe mode

Safe mode is the mode in which Windows loads only the basics. Thus it works in a simple version, without the burden of certain services and software, which is why it is often used to solve problems.

The method of operating the computer in Safe Mode has evolved. In older versions of Windows, it was sufficient to press the F8 key on the keyboard in the first few seconds of starting the computer, before starting Windows, and to choose Safe Mode from the options displayed in a simple screen.

With Windows 10, Microsoft implemented another method, which is richer in options, but also more complex to remember.

However, start C in safe mode, then try to delete the rebel file. If that doesn’t work, use another method.

How to delete files that cannot be deleted in Windows by programs

4) Delete a locked file with a specialized program

If none of the previous methods work, there is also a way to delete files that cannot be deleted in Windows, where you can use specialized utilities that open the way to access files that cannot be deleted. This is the case, for example, with Unlocker ، It is free and very easy to use program that you can download from here.

طريقة حذف الملفات التي لا يمكن حذفها في Windows

– Download, install and then open Unlocker.
– In the “single program window, browse” your computer’s tree structure to locate the file to be deleted.
– Click on the file name, then click OK.
– The file is then unlocked, allowing you to rename, move, or delete it.

5) Delete the “not found” file or folder in Windows 10

In the screenshot below, you see an example of an Element Not Found error message that Windows 10 sometimes displays when you want to delete a file. No matter what action you try, you’ll get this error message “The item was not found. It is no longer in … Check its current location, try again” and Windows will refuse to delete this file or folder.

طريقة حذف الملفات التي لا يمكن حذفها في Windows

But you can easily remove this non-existent item without typing any command line and go to Safe Mode in Windows.
The trick is to bypass Windows 10 Explorer and switch to file compression and archiving software, such as 7-Zip or WinRAR. If you do not have WinZip installed on your computer, you can download one for free from here  or here .

– Open the compression and archiving program.
– Once in the program interface, browse through the folders on your computer to find the file to be deleted.
– Click on the name of the “not found” file to select it, then click Remove.
– Confirm the file deletion by clicking “Yes”.
– All you have to do is empty the Windows Recycle Bin to get rid of your file that cannot be found …

6) Delete the “user” file using the Windows command prompt

A fairly effective way to delete a file is to go through the Windows Command Prompt – or PowerShell, its replacement in Windows 10. It is a legacy of the old MS-DOS system. From the early days this tool remains extremely powerful and effective for certain operations. Often it manages to erase resistant Windows files.

Type the shortcut Windows + R. Run window. Opens. In the input field, type cmd, then check with the OK or Enter key.
After the blinking cursor, type the command cd followed by the path of the directory containing the file to be deleted and verified.
Then type the command del followed by the name of the file to be deleted to start deleting. Since your file is usually deleted.

7) Locate and stop the application that is blocking the file

Sometimes Windows blocks the deletion because an application – or one of its processes – that you don’t see is actually using the file. In this case, it is necessary to be able to identify the said program and force it to stop. A process that can be done using a specialized – and free – program like Process Explorer, which you can download here. This tool is available in English, but it is still very easy to use.

Download and install Process Explorer on your computer then open the program.

طريقة حذف الملفات التي لا يمكن حذفها في Windows

– Click “Search” in the menu, then click “Search for a handle” or a DLL.
– Enter the name of the file you want to remove in the indicator field or the DLL sub-string field, then click the search button.
Process Explorer then searches for the process that is using your file. Locate the running application and stop it by right clicking on its name and then on the Kill process.
The process was forcibly stopped, and your file was edited. Then try to delete it normally.

We hope that you have benefited from this article from the method of deleting files that cannot be deleted in Windows. To request any further inquiries, please do not hesitate to write to us or leave any comment.

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