How to Delete Folders Which Refuse to Delete

When trying to delete a folder, if they refuse to delete or nothing happens, and sometimes you also receive a message—Could not find this item – Item Not Found— this post will help you delete folders that refuse to delete. The problematic part is even if you use cleaning software, it may not work because of reasons such as permission, processes, and so on.

Folder Refuse To Delete

How to Delete Folders Which Refuse to Delete

To delete these types of folders, you need to remove everything inside the folder and then delete it. We will use the Command Prompt, PowerShell, or Windows Terminal to complete the operation.

  1. Delete the Folder using RMDIR
  2. Check for Open Files/Processes Through the Task Manager
  3. Change File/Folder Permissions
  4. Delete in Safe Mode
  5. Fix Disk Errors

Execute these methods to find out how to remove directory in Windows that is not getting deleted.

1] Delete a Folder in Command Prompt With Rmdir

If you do not have any files inside it, skip this step and directly move to remove the directory or the folder.

  • Open Windows Terminal or CMD with admin permission.
  • Navigate to the folder where this notorious folder is visible.
  • Type the command dir/x to see the list of files. ( /x is used to see the full name)
  • If you type in the full name after the del command, it doesn’t work.

Delete Files in a Folder

  • Note down the file’s short name that appears left to the full name. It will be in old Windows format ~8.1*
  • Type del “short name” of the folder.
  • It will prompt it to delete all the files inside it.
  • Type Y. It will delete all the files from the folder.

Now that you have the short name, we can use the command prompt delete folder method to remove the folder.

RMDIR is the command that can delete any directory. It only works if no files are in the directory; hence, we suggested removing them in the above step.

Delete Folders

  • Type in RMDIR “shortname” of that folder, and it will remove the folder now.
  • If it is still visible, reboot the computer, and it should be gone.

2] Check for Open Files/Processes Through the Task Manager

At times, files or folders in Windows could not be deleted because certain applications or processes may lock the same. Correctly identifying the same and terminating the related processes can help deleting the said files or folders. The following steps can be adopted to achieve the same:

  • Press Control + Shift + Escape together to open the Task Manager
  • Under the Processes Tab, check for the process related to the application used by the file. For example, if you are having trouble deleting an MS Word file or a folder that contains MS Word files, look to terminate the Office or Word-related process.

Terminate Processes using Task Manager

  • Click on the process and click on End Task to terminate the process and try deleting the file.

4] Change File/Folder Permissions

Changing File or Folder permission can be another practical option for deleting folders that are not otherwise getting deleted due to permission restrictions.

If the currently logged-in user doesn’t have the necessary permissions to modify, access, or delete a specific folder or file, they might face restriction issues while trying to delete them.

The steps below can be followed to change the file or folder permissions in Windows to allow the deletion. It can be done by taking complete ownership of the folder.

  • Locate and right-click on the folder and select the Properties 
  • In the Properties window, click on the Security tab to view the users along with their granted permissions with respect to the Folder.

Open Folder Security Section

  • Click on Edit to edit the permission. If you are not the owner of the said folder or the Administrator, click Advanced and then Change to take ownership.
  • Click on the User or the Group to change the permission, and click OK.
  • In the next window, permissions for Full Control, Modify, Read, and Execute can be granted to the concerned user or group, and click OK to apply the changes made.

folder advanced security settings

  • Once the above changes have been made, the folder deletion can be undertaken again.

5] Delete in Safe Mode

As Safe Mode happens to be a diagnostic mode in which the system loads only the essential set of drivers and services, any problems arising from the interference of Third-Party software in the folder deletion can possibly be negated.

Also, loading the system with a minimal number of processes and services can be helpful in bypassing permission issues if responsible for acting as a deterrent in the folder deletion process. The below-mentioned steps can be executed to boot the system in Safe Mode:

  • Repeatedly press the F8 or Shift + F8 (or any other key depending on the system manufacturer) key once the power button is pressed to start the system and enter the Advanced option.
  • Then go to Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings

Enable Safe Mode Windows

  • Press F4 and the PC will restart in Safe mode.
  • You should be able to delete the folder.

6] Fix Disk Errors

If the above-mentioned steps fail to rectify the problem of folder deletion, checking the storage disk for errors or inconsistencies can be considered worthwhile. There are instances wherein errors in the file system prevent files or folders from being deleted.

Hence, running disk-checking utilities to identify and repair file system errors can help resolve the issue. The following steps can be undertaken to check and correct disk errors:

  • Open Windows Terminal with admin permission.
  • Type chkdsk /f on the terminal to run the utility for correcting file system-related issues.

windows cmd chkdsk

  • Once the process is complete, try deleting the folder, posing problems.


To resolve the error being discussed, these methods cover all possible angles and associated remedies. It’s essential to exercise caution while executing the steps, as many involve working with system tools and utilities that can destabilize the system if improperly used. That said, the delete folder from command prompt is the most straightforward way to remove the folder.

Sandip Basu
Sandip has worked as an IT solutions consultant for the last 15 years and specializes in troubleshooting software and hardware.


  1. Dear all, any one that can help me to delete a folder which displays the window below says calculating and took a long time. the name of the file is “draw.dpw”. so how can i delete a file with extension name .dpe. thank you in advance.


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