How To Force Delete a Folder in Windows 11 and 10

Something blocking you from deleting a folder? Here is how you can force delete a folder in Windows 11 and 10 operating systems.

To delete a folder in Windows, select it with your mouse pointer and press the “Delete” key on your keyboard. If you want the folder permanently deleted, press the “Shift + Delete” key. Doing so will skip moving the folder to Recycle Bin. It is that easy.

As easy as deleting folders is, it might not happen that way at times. Windows might refuse to delete a folder even after you press the Delete key. It might even show error messages while deleting a folder.

Some of the errors you might encounter while trying to delete a folder include but are not limited to “Could not find this item,” “Folder is locked,” “You need permission to perform this action,” “This action can’t be completed because the folder or file in it is open in another program,” “An unexpected error is keeping you from deleting this folder,” and more.

In those cases, you have to force delete a folder in Windows. Force deleting folders helps you remove stubborn folders from the system.

The good thing is that it is pretty easy to force delete a folder in Windows. There are multiple ways to do it.

Let me show you how to do it in simple and easy steps without delay.

The steps below work the same in Windows 10 and 11.

Table of contents:

Important note: Force deleting a folder can cause data loss if there are files in use in that folder. So, be careful.

Force delete a folder in Windows

You can use the Command Prompt to force delete a folder in Windows operating system. All you have to do is type the force delete command and point it towards the folder you want to delete. Let me show you how to do it.

  1. Right-click on the Start menu.
  2. Open the “Windows Terminal (Admin)” application.
  3. Choose “Command Prompt” from the title bar dropdown menu.
  4. Type the below command. Replace the dummy folder path with the actual path.
    rmdir /s /q "D:\Path\To\Folder"
  5. The specified folder is force deleted immediately.
  6. Close the Terminal window.

Steps with a bit more detail:

First, we need to open the Terminal application. Right-click on the Start menu and choose the “Windows Terminal (Admin)” option. Alternatively, search for “Windows Terminal” in the Start menu and select “Run as administrator.”

open terminal as admin

Next, click the dropdown menu on the Terminal title bar and choose the “Command Prompt” option. This action will open the Command Prompt tab inside the terminal window.

Execute the command below in the Command Prompt while replacing the dummy folder path with the actual one.

rmdir /s /q "D:\Path\To\Folder"
force delete a folder with command prompt

When you execute the command, Windows will force delete the folder. You can now safely close the terminal window.

Use Unlocker to force delete a folder

If the folder is locked or in use, you must use special third-party software Unlocker. It automatically closes any processes offending processes and force delete the folder.

It is an excellent software to deal with pesky errors you encounter while deleting a folder like access denied, folder in use, cannot file folder, etc. Let me show you where to download and how to use Unlocker to force delete a folder.

First, use the below link to download the Unlocker application.

https://www.softpedia.com/get/System/System-Miscellaneous/Unlocker.shtml

After downloading the application, double-click on it and install.

install unlocker

Once the Unlocker application has been installed, open it from the Start menu. As soon as you do that, it asks you to select the folder you want to delete. Select the folder you want to delete and press the “Ok” button.

select folder to force delete

Choose “Delete” from the dropdown menu and press the “Ok” button.

force delete folder with unlocker

As soon as you do that, Unlocker will force delete the folder. The application will also show the “The object was deleted” confirmation dialog box.

force deleted folder

That is it. It is that simple to force delete a folder in Windows.

I hope this simple Windows how-to guide helped you.

If you are stuck or need some help, send an email, and I will try to help as much as possible.

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