By Bryce / Last Updated November 20, 2020

File deletion failed in Windows 10

“I tried to delete an unwanted file from my hard disk in Windows 10 Explorer. However, I’m told that the file is used by process and cannot be deleted. What should I do to make the file disappear? Any suggestion on force delete the file?”

Three ways to force delete a file in Windows 10

It’s not rare to fail in deleting file. Write-protection, corrupted drive, virus infection, etc. can prevent you from removing file from hard drive, SD card, or USB flash drive. You may get a message saying that the file is in use, you have not permission to do that, or the file doesn’t exist while you can see it. Under different situations, you can take corresponding measures to fix cannot delete files issue. Or you can choose one among the three ways to force delete file or folder.

✔ Way 1. Force delete file or folder using CMD
✔ Way 2. Force delete file using PowerShell
✔ Way 3. Force delete file using a GUI file shredder

✔ Way 1. Force delete file or folder using CMD

Command Prompt (CMD) is a command-line tool built-in Windows 10 and other Windows operating systems. It can complete many operations, including force delete file, format partition, etc. To hard delete a file using CMD, refer to the steps below:

Note: This way won’t send file to Recycle Bin and remove file directly. If you want to retrieve deleted file, you can employ data recovery software.

Step 1. Press “Windows” + ”R”, input “cmd” and hit “Enter” key to run CMD as administrator.

Step 2. In the pop-up window, type “del /f /q /a the file directory” and hit “Enter” key.

Tip: /f = delete read-only files; /q = turn off delete confirmation; /a = delete archived files and folders.

✔ Way 2. Force delete file or folder using PowerShell

PowerShell consists of a command0line shell and associated scripting language. This tool can help you to configure systems and automate administrative tasks. You can also use it to force remove file via the following two steps:

Note: This way also won’t send file to Recycle Bin and delete files directly.

Step 1. Step 1. Press “Windows” + ”R”, input “” and click “OK” to access PowerShell interface.

Step 2. Input “Remove-Item –the file directory – force” command and press “Enter” key.

Tip: –force parameter can be sued to delete read-only or hidden files.

✔ Way 3. Force delete stubborn file or folder using a file shredder

If you are a newbie in computer, you can turn to an easy-to-use and safe file shredder for Windows 10, 8, 7, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. It can help you to forcibly shred files or folders that cannot be deleted. Now, free download it and see how it works.

Download Freeware Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Warning: This way will remove files with zero-filling and the deleted files are hard to be recovered even using data recovery software.

Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. In the main interface, go to “All Tools” and “Shred Files”.

Shred Files

Step 2. In the pop-up window, click “Add Files” or “Add Folder” to add the files or folder that you want to delete permanently.

Add Files Folders

Step 3. Choose “Write Zero” as the shredding method. If you want to use the other three shredding ways, upgrade to the Professional version.

Shred Method

Step 4. Click “Shred” button to start the operation. Then, click “Yes”.



  • This tool is far more than a file eraser, it can complete various tasks, including zero filling hard drive, cloning HDD to HDD or SSD, check bad sector, and so on.

  • If you are running Windows Server 2019, 2016, 2012 (R2), or 2008 (R2), you can use AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.