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How to fix ‘Can’t delete folder in Windows 10’ issue?

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  • 6 min read

Windows has evolved into a rather well-polished easy to use OS over numerous iterations ever since Windows 1 was released back in November 1985.

However, just like all things tech, Windows does have its fair share of issues that keep popping up from time to time. In this article, we’re going to talk about how you can fix not being able to delete a folder in Windows 10.

Restart your PC

One of the first thing you should try when troubleshooting just about any issue with Windows is to restart your PC. This can fix a bunch of seemingly random issues and can save you a lot of headaches.

Also read: How to uninstall programs using Command Prompt on Windows 10?

Check your antivirus

Antiviruses are a necessity in this time and age, however, they can be quite intrusive under the excuse of protecting you. In this case, antiviruses can protect certain files from deletion to avoid users deleting any essential system files.

Make sure that the file you’re trying to delete is not a system file or is not needed by any system essential service. Try disabling your antivirus temporarily while deleting the file. 

Use the Command Prompt

The Command Prompt is a rather powerful utility in Windows 10 if used properly. In case you’re unable to delete any files or folders using the Windows Explorer, you can try going it through the Command Prompt.

Here’s how.

Step 1: Press Windows key + R to bring up the Run prompt. Type in cmd and hit enter.

How to fix 'Can’t delete folder in Windows 10' issue?

Step 2: Navigate to the directory where your folder is located by typing in CD followed by the path of the directory.

Step 3: Use the DEL command followed by the folder name to delete the folder.

Also read: What is PowerToys and how to use it in Windows 10?

Change ownership of the File/Folder

If you’re not the owner of a particular file or folder on your computer, you might not be able to modify or delete its contents.

Here’s how you can change the ownership of files or folders on your PC.

Step 1: Right-click on the file or folder you want to delete and choose Properties.

Step 2: Under the Security tab, click on Advanced.

Step 3: Click on Change in front of the current Owner.

Step 4: Enter the username of the account you want to make the owner of the file/folder. Use the Check Names button to make sure you’re using the right username. Click OK when done. 

Step 5: Make sure you have all the required permissions for the file. If you don’t, use the Edit… button to modify said permissions.

Try deleting the file or folder again.

Use the hidden administrator account

If changing the file permissions and ownership doesn’t help the issue, you can use the hidden administrator account in Windows 10 to override all permissions and delete the file/folder you want.

You can refer to this article to know how to enable or disable the hidden admin account on Windows 10. 

Also read: How to get a detailed battery report on Windows 10?

Remove the AMD Uninstall Utility

AMD’s native uninstall utility, used to clean up any GPU driver files when you uninstall or modify the drivers, has been known to conflict with deletion of other files as well. 

If the utility thinks you’re trying to remove a file essential to the driver, it’ll block you from deleting that particular file or directory. If you have this utility on your machine, try removing it and deleting whatever it is that you want. 

Use the Microsoft File and Folder Troubleshooter

Microsoft provides a bunch of amazing troubleshooters that can fix a number of issues in a matter of a few clicks. If you’re having issues with files and folders on your PC, you should try downloading the Microsoft File and Folder troubleshooter and run it to resolve any such issues.

You can download the Microsoft File and Folder troubleshooter here

Use Safe Mode

If all else fails, try booting into the Windows 10 Safe Mode and deleting your files and folders. 

Step 1: Open the Start menu, click on the power icon and click on Restart while holding down the Shift key.

Step 1: Click on Troubleshoot.

Step 2: Head over to Advanced Options.

Step 3: Select Startup Settings

Step 4: Click the Restart button.

Wait for your PC to finish rebooting and try deleting your files and folders now.

Also read: Where are Windows 10 Sticky Notes stored?

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here:

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