How to Force Delete Computer Files

Apr. 08, 2024 / Updated by Seraphina to News

In the course of daily computer use, we may encounter files that are difficult to delete. These files may be locked for various reasons, such as being in use by a program or having their properties set to read-only. When faced with such issues, users need to take some special measures to force delete computer files. This article will detail several effective methods for forcefully deleting computer files.


1. Meaning of File Extensions:

File extensions are part of the file name and are used to identify the file type or format. They typically appear as the last part of the file name, separated from the file name by a period (.). File extensions inform the operating system and applications how to handle the file and which program to use to open it. For example, ".txt" indicates a text file, ".jpg" indicates an image file, and ".mp3" indicates an audio file.

2. Methods for Forcing Delete of Computer Files:

1). End Related Processes Using Task Manager:

(1). If a file is in use, try ending the process that's using it through Task Manager. Press "Ctrl+Shift+Esc" to open Task Manager, locate the related process, and end it. Afterward, attempt to delete the corresponding file. 


(2). Another method is to modify the file's properties to remove attributes like read-only. Right-click the file, select "Properties", and then deselect options like "Read-only".

2). Restart Your Computer:

This is the simplest and most direct method. Close the program using the file or log off/restart the system. After the system reloads, try deleting the file again. Many temporary locking issues can be resolved during this process.

3). Change File Permissions:

For permission-related issues preventing deletion, try taking ownership of the file or granting administrator privileges. In Windows, right-click the file or folder, select "Properties" > "Security" > "Advanced", change the owner to the current user, and grant full control permissions.


4). Use Command Prompt (CMD):

① Open Command Prompt: Press "Windows+R", type "cmd", and then press "Ctrl+Shift+Enter" to run it as an administrator.

② Enter the delete command: For example, to delete a test.txt file on the desktop, you can enter "del c:\users\yourusername\desktop\test.txt" and then press Enter.


5). Delete in Safe Mode:

① Restart your computer in Safe Mode: In Settings, choose Update & Security > Recovery > Advanced startup > Restart.

② In the startup settings, choose Safe Mode (press F4 or F5).

③ In Safe Mode, try deleting the file.

6). Enhance System-Built Deletion Tools:

① In Windows, you can use Command Prompt (run as administrator) to execute commands like del /f /q file path or rmdir /s /q folder path to force delete files or empty folders.


② For non-empty folders, use commands like takeown /f folder path /r /d y and icacls folder path /grant administrators:F /t to take ownership and grant administrator permissions.

7). Use an Encrypted File System:

Before saving files, encrypt them and use robust encryption algorithms to protect the data. When you need to delete a file, simply delete the encryption key, rendering the file inaccessible.


Steps to encrypt files after saving:

  • Open Windows File Explorer.

  • Navigate to the file or folder you want to encrypt.

  • Right-click on the file or folder you want to encrypt and select "Properties".

  • In the popped-up Properties window, click on the "Advanced" tab.

  • In the Advanced Properties window, check the "Encrypt contents to secure data" checkbox. If you want to encrypt the folder and its contents, select the option "Apply changes to this folder, subfolders, and files".


  • Click "OK" to close the Advanced Properties window.

  • If you are the owner of the file or folder, the system will prompt you to back up your encryption key. Follow the prompts and ensure your encryption key is securely saved.

  • Click "OK" to close the Properties window.

8). Open Disk Cleanup Utility (Windows):

  • Press the Windows key, type "Disk Cleanup", and select the Disk Cleanup app from the search results.

  • Choose the drive to clean up (usually the C: drive), and then click OK.


  • Disk Cleanup will calculate how much space can be freed up. After the calculation, select the types of files to delete, including temporary files, and then click OK.

These are the methods for force deleting computer files. Hope it's helpful to everyone. If encountering issues with network cardsgraphics cardsBluetoothsound cards, etc., you can use "Driver Talent" for detection and repair. Additionally, Driver Talent supports driver downloads, installation, backup, and offers flexible driver installation options.

Download Driver Talent


See also:

How to install sound card drivers

Steps to clean up a full C drive on the computer

Dota 2 crash troubleshooting guide

No Internet Connection-5 Common Solutions

One-Click Audio Recovery for Computer

Driver-Talent ExplorerMax DownLoad_DT_Net Driver Talent for Network Card
Smart and advanced file explorer tool for Windows platforms Download & Install Network Drivers without Internet Connection
30-day Free Trial Free Download

We Are Trusted By