How to delete a file that is not deleted — 3 ways

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A common problem faced by novice users is not deleted a file or folder (any file) that you want to delete. In this case, the system writes a file in use by another process or the action cannot be performed because this file is open in the Program_name or the fact that you need to ask for permission from someone. They can also be found in any version of OS — Windows 7, 8, 10 or Windows XP.

Actually, there are several ways to delete such files, each of which will be considered here. Let’s see how to remove do not remove a file without using a third-party tool, and then describe the removal of busy files through the LiveCD, and the free program Unlocker. Note that deleting these files is not always safe. Be careful that it isn’t the file system (especially when you are told that you need permission from TrustedInstaller).

Note: if the file is not deleted not because is used and with the message that access is denied and you need permission to perform this operation or you need to request authorization from owner, use this guide: How to take ownership of file and folders in Windows or Request permission from TrustedInstaller (ideal for cases when you want to request permission from Administrators).

Also, if the files are not deleted pagefile.sys and swapfile.sys, hiberfil.sys the ways below will not help. You will need the instructions for the Windows swap File (the first two files), or disable hibernation. Similarly, it would be useful is a separate article about how to remove the Windows folder.old.

Delete the file without additional software

The file is in use. Close the file and try again.

Usually, if the file is not deleted, the message you see which process it is occupied — it could be explorer.exe or any other problem. It is logical to assume that to remove it you need to make sure that the file was «not busy».

It’s easy to do — start task Manager:

  • In Windows 7 and XP it can be accessed by Ctrl + Alt + Del.
  • In Windows 8 and Windows 10 you can press the Windows key + X and choose task Manager.

Find the process using the file that you want to remove and clear the problem. Delete the file. If the file is busy the process explorer.exe before how to end task in task Manager, run command prompt as administrator and, after, remove a task, use the command line command del polnyiyto remove it.

To return to the standard desktop view, you need to start again explorer.exe in task Manager select «File» — «New task» — «explorer.exe».

Details about the Windows task Manager

Deleting a locked file using the bootable stick or disc

Another way to remove such a file to boot from any drive, LiveCD, disk recover system or boot stick Windows. When using the LiveCD in any of its variants you can use either a standard Windows graphic interface (for example, BartPE) and Linux (Ubuntu) or command line tools. Note that when booting from such a drive, the computer’s hard drives may be under other letters. To make sure that you delete a file with the desired disk, you can use the command dir c: (this example will display a list of folders on the C drive).

When you use a bootable flash drive or installation disk of Windows 7 and Windows 8, at any point in the install (after having already loaded the language selection window and in the following steps) press Shift + F10 to enter command prompt. You can also choose «system Restore», the link to which is also present in the installer. Also, as in the previous case, note the possible change of drive letter.

Use DeadLock to unlock and delete the files As discussed next, the program even Unlocker from the official site recently (2016) began to install various unwanted programs and blocked by browsers and anti-virus software, I suggest you consider the alternative is DeadLock, which also allows you to unlock and delete files from your computer (and also promises to change the owner, but in my tests it didn’t work).So, if you delete a file you see a message stating that the action cannot be completed because the file is open in some program, using DeadLock on the File menu, you can add this file to the list, and then using right-click — unlock it (Unlock) and remove (Remove). You can also run and move the file.While on English (so Russian translation), but very easy to use. The drawback (and for some, perhaps, dignity) — unlike Unlocker, does not add the unlock file in the Windows Explorer context menu. Download DeadLock from the official website program Unlocker to unlock the files that are not deleted

The program Unlocker is probably the most popular way to delete files that are in use or another process. The reason is simple: it’s free, correctly doing its job, in General, works. Download the Unlocker for free on the official website of the developer (more recently the site was identified as malicious).

Using the program is very simple — after installation, just right click mouse on a file that is not deleted and select the context menu item «Unlocker». In the case of portable version of the program, which is also available for download, start the program, a window will open to select the file or folder that you want to delete.

The essence of the program is the same as in the first described method is unloaded from memory processes that busy file. The main advantages over the first method — using the program Unlocker to delete the file easier and, moreover, it can find and terminate the process that is hidden from the eyes of users, that is available for viewing through task Manager.

Well, I think someone did today.

Why the file or folder is not deleted

A little background information from the Microsoft website, if anybody cares. Though, information is rather scarce. It can also be helpful: How to clean the disk from unnecessary files.

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That might interfere with the removal of the file or folder

If you do not have the necessary system rights to change a file or folder, you cannot delete them. If you did not create the file then it is likely that you are not able to remove it. Also can cause the settings made by the administrator of the computer.

Also the file or the folder containing it cannot be deleted if at the moment the file is opened in the program. You can try to close all programs and try again.

Why, when I try to delete a file, Windows writes that file is used

This error means that the file used by the program. Thus, you need to find the program that uses it and either close the file, if it is, for example, a document, or close the program itself. Also, if you work in a network, the file can be used by another user at the moment.

After deleting all the files in an empty folder

In this case, try closing all open programs or restart the computer, and then delete the folder.

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