How to Force Delete a File Windows 10 [3 Proven Ways]

How to force delete a file Windows 10? This tutorial covers three effective ways to delete files forcefully in Windows 11/10/8/7. After reading, you will know how to force delete files or folders using CMD, Safe Mode, and a professional file shredder.


By Hedy / Updated on May 12, 2023

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When need to force delete file Windows 10?

It's common to delete files in Windows 10. You can drag it to the Recycle Bin directly, right-click the want-to-delete files and click the Delete option from the context menu, or press the Delete key after highlighting the file. To delete a file or folder permanently, you can empty the Recycle Bin or press the Shift + Delete keys at the same time.

However, some files or folders are so stubborn that you can't delete them no matter how many times you have tried. To this end, you can delete these files forcibly on Windows 11/10/8/7.

Why can't I force delete a file?

Sadly, many users complained they don't know how to force delete a file Windows 10 or they can't force delete a file or folder. There are many factors that can result in file deletion failure, such as: the file is in use, the Recycle Bin is full, the disk is write-protected, the file is corrupted, damaged, or read-only, the computer is infected by malware, and so on.

Whatever the reason, if you insist to delete files or folders, you can try the following three proven ways to force delete file Windows 10/11/8/7.

How to force delete a file Windows 10?

How to forcefully delete a file in Windows 11/10/8/7? You can try the easy solutions first before proceeding to the methods.

Warning: Please make sure there is no important data stored in the to-be-deleted file and it is safe to delete. If necessary, you can create a backup of the file in case of any wrong removal of files.

▶ Basic Troubleshooting

1. Close the apps and programs on your Windows 10 computer.

2. Run a virus scan to find and remove viruses/malware from your computer.

3. Restart Windows 10 PC.

If nothing changed after trying the basic steps, you can move on to the next content to see how to force delete a file Windows 10.

▶ Method 1. Delete files forcefully in Windows using CMD

Command Prompt can be used to delete files or folders that cannot be deleted in Windows 10. If you are a computer expert, this is a good choice for you.

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 path and hit Enter key.


Please make sure you have the correct file extension in the command, e.g. .txt, .docx, .xls, etc.
To check the full path of a file or folder, you can go to the File Explorer and copy the address.

If you want to force delete a folder in CMD, you can use the "RMDIR /S /Q folder path" command. For example, input rmdir /s /q C:\my photos will delete the folder named "my photos" in the C drive. You can replace "folder path" with your target folder path.

▶ Method 2. Delete files forcefully in Windows using Safe Mode

If you are not good at using command lines, you can also start your Windows 10 computer in Safe Mode to force delete file Windows 10.

Step 1. Click Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Restart now (under Advanced Startup), to enter into Windows recovery environment.

Step 2. Click Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart.

Step 3. In the Startup Settings window, you can press F4 or F5 to boot into Safe Mode in Windows 10.


Step 4. Find the file or folder you don't need and delete it in Windows 10 Safe Mode.

Step 5. Restart Windows 10 again and your computer will exit Safe Mode. Check whether it works, if not, keep reading.

▶ Method 3. Delete files forcefully in Windows using a file shredder

Another simple and useful way to forcibly delete files or folders is using a professional file shredder. AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is an all-in-one disk and file management tool that can help you realize file deletion effortlessly with its "Shred Files" feature.

It's free and easy to use, letting you shred a file or folder with only four steps. Besides, it does a good job in deleting large files, cleaning junk files, and moving files/folders to another drive. Now, free download this software and follow the below tutorial to learn how to force delete a file Windows 10/11/8/7.

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Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. In the main console, select the target disk, click "Wipe" and select "Shred Files".


Step 2. In the small window, click "Add Files" or "Add Folder" to choose the file or folder you want to delete forcibly.


Step 3. Then, choose "Write Zero" as the shredding method.

Tip: If you want to force delete file Windows 10 thoroughly and permanently, you can upgrade to the Professional edition to enjoy the other three shredding ways.


Step 4. Click the "Shred" button and you will be mentioned a confirmation note, click "Yes" to go on.



That's all about how to force delete a file Windows 10. You can try the quick fixes first and then use the three proven methods we displayed above. By comparison, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard stands out for its clear interface and simple steps.

In addition, it can help you solve many other problems like "Why is my PC so slow", "cloned SSD won't boot", "the file can't be accessed by the system", etc. Besides, if you are running Windows Server 2022, 2019, 2016, 2012 (R2), or 2008 (R2), you can use AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.

Hedy · Staff Editor
Hedy is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is very good at solving problems of partition management, and she wants to share all the problems she had already solved to users who met the same questions.