Windows

How to Force Delete a Folder or File on Windows 11

Creating and deleting folders and files is a natural part of using any operating system over a long period. However, in some rare cases, you might be unable to delete these files or folders at all.

That’s where force deletion can come to your rescue. In this article, we’ll look at precisely what force deletion is, and then go over the exact steps to force delete your folders or files on Windows 11.

What Is Force Delete?

Force Delete is a feature on Windows that overrides any conflicting processes that might prevent you from deleting any file or folder on your PC. The process stopping you from deleting a specific file or folder can be anything: a malware attack, an overriding script of some other process, permission rights, etc.

Whatever the cause, with force deletion you can get rid of your files or folders easily. So let’s look at how you can override this error and force delete your files or folders.

How to Force Delete a File or Folder on Windows 11

There are a host of ways to force delete a folder or file on Windows 11. While some might work for you, others might not work for someone else. So we’ll lay out all the approaches; you can then try out all and stick with the ones that you find work best.

1. Delete Files With the Command Prompt

Command Prompt is the default command line interpreter for Windows computers. You can also use it to force delete your files or folders on Windows 11. Here’s how.

1. Head to the Start menu search bar, type in ‘cmd,’ and select the best match.

2. On File Explorer, go to the folder or file your want to delete and grab its location from the address bar above.

In the Command prompt, type in the del command along with the address of your file or folder as shown below:

del C:\Users\user\folder-name\filename.extension

Hit Enter and your file or folder will be deleted.

That’s it. Do this, and you’ll be able to remove random files or folders on your Windows PC.

2. Take Ownership of the Folder

If it’s a specific folder that you’ve been unable to delete, then make sure your user account gives you full ownership of it. Here’s how you can sort out this problem:

  • Open the File Explorer and head to the specific folder, right-click on it, and select Properties. Then select Security > Advanced.
  • Look for the Owner field and click on the Change written in front of it. Then, Enter the object names to select field, type in ‘Administrator,’ and click on Check Names. Finally, click on OK.

As soon as you do this, you’ll see that the Owner’s property has been changed to Administrator. Right below the Owner property, you’ll find the Replace owner on subcontainers and objects checkbox. Select it and finally click on Apply from below.

Do this, and you will completely own your files and folders. Try deleting them now and see if you face any problems.

3. Go Into Safe Mode

Safe mode is a special way to run your Windows where your PC only boots with a minimum set of files and drivers. Interestingly, once you’re in the Safe mode, you can then delete your files or folders you couldn’t in normal mode.

There are different ways to enter Safe mode in Windows 11. For this example, we’d suggest you boot into it straight from your Settings menu. Here’s how.

  1. Press Win + I to open the Settings menu.
  2. In the Settings tab, scroll down and click on the Recovery option.
  3. Click on Restart now and your PC will reboot.
  4. From there, click on Troubleshoot.
  5. Select Advanced options > Startup settings.
  6. Click on Restart, and you’ll be taken to the Startup settings page.
  7. Press 4 to boot your PC into Safe Mode.

Your PC will start and will boot into safe mode. Now give deleting your file or folder a go; you should be able to delete them rather quickly. After you’re done, give your Windows a restart, and you’ll exit the safe mode.

Force Deleting a Folder or File on Windows 11

Forced deletion can come in handy when the usual ways to remove your Windows file or folders fail. We hope one of the methods listed above did the trick for you, and you were able to get rid of your Windows files or folders successfully. The only thing you need to remember is not to delete other useful files or folders during the force deletion. Setting up careful measures against accidental deletion can help you in cases like this—so make sure you have got those covered.

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