How to Force Delete a File or Folder on Windows 11

You must have across a situation when you are trying to delete a file or folder on Windows 11, however, the same is not happening. Well, this occurs when some conflicting apps or processes are preventing it from happening. 

If you are indeed facing problems deleting files or folders, you may go for a force deletion on Windows PC. This guide presents three ways of completing this task, so go ahead and delete the files which are otherwise not deleted normally. 

Force Delete a File or Folder on Windows 11

What exactly is Force Delete on Windows 11?

Microsoft provides a powerful feature of force deleting files and folders for cases where you are not able to complete the deletion by following the normal way. Activating this feature will override any conflicting process or service that is preventing you from deleting files normally. 

If the conflicting process is because of some viruses, you must perform a full scan using Windows Defender on your PC. Do it and check if the problem resolves this way. In case you are still unable to delete files normally, follow the below section. 

Ways to Force Delete Files and Folders on Windows 11

If you are not able to delete a file or folder on Windows 11 normally, you may force it using the below methods. The force methods are as follows –

1] Using Command Prompt

The best way to force delete any files or folders on Windows PC is by using the Command Prompt. All you require is to follow these easy steps –

  • Press Win + X and choose Windows Terminal (Admin).
  • Click Yes to authorize opening terminal having admin rights. 
  • When the terminal opens up, press Ctrl + Shift + 2 to launch  CMD as administrator.
  • On the elevated console, run this code – 

del C:\Users\username\folder_name\filename.extension

force delete a file on Windows 11 using CMD

Make sure to replace the username with your exact user name, and folder_name with the folder that you wish to delete. If you are going to force delete some files inside a folder, replace the filename with the exact file name along with its extension. 

Note: You may get the folder or file path by manually opening File Explorer (Win + E) and visiting the path where that file/folder lies.

  • After you delete a folder or file successfully, type exit and press Enter to come out of Windows Console.

2] Take Ownership of the folder and then delete it

You are not able to get rid of a particular file or folder simply because you don’t have the proper ownership of that. So, you need to first take ownership of the relevant folder and then delete it using the below steps –

  • First of all, launch File Explorer by pressing Win + E.
  • Navigate to the folder which you no longer want on your computer.
  • After you reach out to the specific folder, right-click on it, and select Properties.
  • Go to the Security tab and click on Advanced

Folder Properties and Advanced

  • Click the Change button available next to your name beside Owner
  • Inside the “Enter the object names to select” field, type in Administrator, and then hit Check Names.

take ownership of a file or folder in Windows 11

  • Your administrator account will then appear inside this box. 
  • Click OK to confirm the latest changes. If you are not logged in as an administrator, your device will prompt signing into the same. 
  • Well, do the same and you will see the Owner property of the selected folder has now been changed to Administrator. 
  • Coming back to the previous window, you will find a checkbox available just below the Owner field. Tick this box and hit Apply then OK.

replace owner on subcontainers or objects

Now that you own that folder, you may delete it quite comfortably on your Windows 11 PC. 

3] Delete Files and Folders after booting into the Safe Mode

In case both CMD and taking ownership of the files/folders fail to force delete them, you may boot into the Safe Mode and try deleting them. Booting into Safe Mode disables third-party apps and services. So, there won’t be any restrictions from their sides and you can delete a file or folder normally. Here’s how to perform this task –

  • Press Win + I to launch Settings.
  • Go to System and then Recovery on the right pane.
  • Scroll down to Recovery options and click Restart now available besides Advanced startup.
  • Your device will reboot next and launch the Advanced startup screen.
  • Click Troubleshoot and then Advanced options > Startup settings.

Clean Registry in Windows 11 - Startup Settings

  • Click Restart and your device will redirect you to the Startup settings page.
  • While your device is booting, press 4 to enter the Safe Mode without networking.
  • Now that you are inside the Safe boot, navigate to the path where your files/folders lie.
  • Right-click on the relevant files and folders and choose to delete them. 

Once you force delete a file or folder while remaining inside the Safe boot, restart your PC. This time, your device will boot normally. 

I hope you find the methods useful and one of these indeed helps to force delete files on your computer. Let’s know in the comment section if you face any difficulty following either section. 

When should I force delete a file or folder on Windows 11?

Force deleting a file or folder becomes a necessity if you are not able to delete some leftover or residual files. Usually, the Console method alone is enough to get rid of restricted files. However, if it fails, you may consider taking ownership of the files and folders and deleting them manually. Proceed with the Safe boot method only when both these methods fail to force delete your files or folders.

Tip: If you are facing update, activation, or driver issues on your Windows PC, try RESTORO PC Repair Tool. This software will scan your device for potential issues and resolve them automatically.

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