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Summary

If you are suffering that Windows 10 doesn’t let you delete a file, check the 3 ways in this post for how to delete files that cannot be deleted in Windows 10 computer. Detailed step-by-step guide is provided.

Can’t Delete a File in Windows 10?

Sometimes you may face this problem: you cannot delete a file or folder in Windows 10 no matter how many times you conduct the delete operation. How to delete files that cannot be deleted? How to force delete a file in Windows 10 computer?

Generally if a file is being opened or used by another application or program, Windows 10 computer will mark the file in a locked state, and you can’t delete, edit or move this file. When you are not using this tile, then it will be unlocked. But sometimes the file unlock process may be not successfully completed, which may cause the file delete operation can’t be accomplished, along with a warning showing that the file is opened by another program.

how to delete a file that cannot be deleted

If you insist to delete the file or want to force to delete it, you may try these two methods in this post to unlock and delete the file.

Need to mention that this post is not talking about deleting Windows system files. Windows system files are usually protected against deletion. Deleting system files can cause issues of your Windows 10 computer OS. So please do not delete system files randomly.

If the file is corrupted or your Windows 10 computer reports that it can’t find the file, you may take some measures to conduct the disk repair process to see if it can fix this error and fix corrupted system files.

How to Force Delete a File That Cannot Be Deleted Windows 10

How to delete a file that that cannot be deleted in Windows 10? Normally you can take the basic steps below at first.

  • Close all apps and programs on your Windows 10 computer, and try to delete the file again to see if it can be deleted.
  • Close File Explorer. You can click Start -> Type Task Manager and choose Task Manager to open it -> Find Windows Explorer and right-click on it and choose End task to close it.
  • Restarting Windows 10 can sometimes fix many issues. You can try to reboot your Windows 10 computer and delete the file again to see if it can be deleted successfully.
  • You can also conduct a virus scan to see if there is a virus in your Windows 10 computer.

If all the four measures above don’t make any difference, then you can continue to try the two ways below to delete files or folders that cannot be deleted.

Method 1. Delete Files/Folders Using CMD

You can try to use Command Prompt to delete files that cannot be deleted in Windows 10.

Step 1. You can press Windows + R keys on the keyboard, type cmd, and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to run Windows Command Prompt as administrator.

Step 2. Then input the command line and hit Enter to force delete the file in Windows 10 with CMD. The command line is like this: del c:\users\alisa\desktop\test.txt. Replace “c:\users\alisa\desktop\test.txt” with the path of the target file.

Method 2. Use Safe Mode to Unlock and Delete Files

To delete a file that won’t be deleted, you can also try to start Windows 10 in safe mode to unlock and delete the file.

Step 1. Click Start -> Settings -> Update & Security -> Recovery -> Restart now (under Advanced Startup), to enter into Windows recovery environment.

Step 2. Click Troubleshoot -> Advanced options -> Startup Settings -> Restart.

Step 3. In Startup Settings window, you can press F4 or F5 to boot into safe mode in Windows 10.

start Windows 10 in safe mode

Step 4. Delete the file or folder in Windows 10 Safe Mode.

Step 5. Restart Windows 10 and your computer will auto exit Safe Mode.

Bottom Line

As for how to force delete a file, how to delete files that cannot be deleted or how to delete locked files in Windows 10, hope the solutions in this post help. If you need to recover deleted or lost files, you can try the best free file undelete software for Windows 10/8/7.

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