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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

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written by: Ukion in
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How to delete an undeletable file in Windows

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When you like to delete some file and this file are already in use with some windows application, widows report error “Error deleting file or folder”. To delete the file you can close that application which keep the file and try to delete the file again. In most of the cases file can be deleted. But, in some cases, some windows operations stuck and windows will report error again even if application which hold the file is closed.

One or all of following 4 tips will solve deleting undeletable files or folders in Windows:

First solution:
Restart computer and try to delete the file. Try other solutions if this not helps.

Second solution:
With this solution you can delete everything you want:

  1. Close all open programs
  2. Open a Command Prompt window and leave it open
  4. Go to the Processes tab and End Process on Explorer.exe. Leave Task Manager open.
  5. From the Command Prompt window go to the directory where undeletable file is located (CD dos command)
  6. Execute dos command DEL where is the file you wish to delete.
  7. Go back to Task Manager, click File, New Task and enter EXPLORER.EXE to restart the GUI shell
  8. Close Task Manager
Third solution:
Download Process Explorer from (free) and within it, go to Find -> Find Handle... Enter part of the filename that was locked, it will then select the handle on whatever application has locked it. Then if you have permission, right click on the handle and hit Close Handle. The application might become unstable if it was reading/writing from the file, but usually its fine.

File is now deletable.

Fourth solution (NTFS file system only):
Right click on the file at hand, go to properties. Go to the security tab and hit advanced. Uncheck "Inherit permissions from parent". Then hit ok. It will ask to copy permissions, you can if you wish. In the previous tab, if your name isn't in the list add your username. Add your name and give yourself full control. Delete all other accounts listed. Add account "System" to the permissions and Deny full control.

Reboot machine. File will now be unreadable to the system, but deletable by you.

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RiverSoul said...

There is a simple way to delete files.
Use Unlocker. This extremely small executable deletes all locked files.
Download from

Ukion said...

Thanks for info.
Yes, Unlocker will do the job also. DetectorPro have a review about this cute software.
Link: Unlocker