It has always been said that the administrator has access to all the operations of the computer, be it in Windows or in any other system. However, there are certain things that even an administrator faces trouble with and thus it can be very frustrating. Sometimes it is difficult to remove certain files from the system which can be for a number of reasons. But yes; for this there is a solution.
Windows prevents some files from being deleted
Surely it has happened to you at some point: you are going to delete a document or file and a window appears saying that it cannot be deleted because it is in use. How is it possible? If you have closed all open programs. Normally, when you’re working with a file or document, you can’t delete it because it’s in use.
Hence, you have to close the programs you are using at that moment to delete said file . This is usually indicated by the fact that they are in use, that they cannot be accessed, or that the file does not exist.
This may be, for example, because in some situations the file is being used by essential Windows programs such as Windows Explorer, which prevents it from being deleted. If using Task Manager was unsuccessful, you can get rid of these annoying files and forcibly delete them by completing the process manually… or by downloading free and simple applications.
What can we do
What to do to beat these rogue files? How to make Windows understand that you want to delete a file even if some background process has it retained?
The best we can do, in this case, is to force the deletion of a file where, as we will see, we have the following solutions at your disposal. If the Windows error message tells you the cause of the error, use the corresponding method. If, on the other hand, the reasons are not clear, there are some tips and tricks that can help you.
Close all programs
In most cases, the reason a file can’t be deleted in Windows (or macOS, that is) is pretty simple. The file is still open or is being used by another program. Follow these steps:
- Check if the file is open in any programs, such as Word from Microsoft 365.
- If you know the responsible program, close the open file or close the entire program.
- If you don’t know what program it is, close all tasks. For this, open the task manager with the following Windows shortcut: [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [Esc].
- Close all programs by right-clicking and End Task on active processes. Be careful not to close Windows Explorer or Task Manager.
- You should now be able to delete the files without any problems.
Delete an already deleted folder
Can’t delete a file or folder and get an “Item not found” error message? This is usually due to a browser error. To resolve the issue, restart explorer.exe.
- Open the task manager with [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [Esc].
- Locate the Windows Explorer task, right-click it and click End Task.
- In task manager, click File in the top left corner, and then click Run new task .
- In the Create new task window, type C:Windowsexplorer.exe and click OK .
Use the command prompt
If using the File Explorer does not guarantee us to delete the file we want, another option we have is to use the Command Prompt to try to delete what is bothering us. You can also follow these steps:
- We navigate to the file we want to delete using File Explorer.
- Now we click on the file to select it and then right-click and select Copy as Path . This will allow us to have the complete location of the file copied.
- At this time we press the Windows + R keys to open the Run dialog box.
- Once it comes out we are going to write cmd and click OK .
- Now we are going to write Del , a space and press the Control + V keys so that the path of the file that we have previously selected is copied.
- Once done, all you have to do is press Enter, so that the file is deleted at that precise moment.
- If it works, we’ll just see another command prompt. It may happen that another application is using the file, so we will receive a message that tells us that the file cannot be deleted.