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Cannot Delete File

Friday, April 20th, 2007 by | Filed Under: File & Disk Management, System Tune-Up Help

Sometimes when I try to delete a file from my computer, it comes up with a “Cannot Delete File” error. Why does this happen and is there any way I can get around it? Please help!

Worry no more! I can help, I can help! And believe me, I feel your pain. I often get that same error message and let me tell you, it ranks pretty high on my chart as one of the most frustrating things that could possibly happen with my computer. And guessing by the tone of the question, I’m thinking several of you have had this problem as well.

Well, you’ve come to the right place, because I’m going to show you how you can actually get rid of the files your computer deems undeletable. Now, before I go on, I want to make sure everyone’s on the same page. The “Cannot Delete File” error often shows up when you’re trying to delete certain files off of your computer. It could be a document or a picture, a music file or even a saved e-mail. Whatever it is, for some reason, this error occurs more often than we’d all like.

This error can pop up under several different circumstances as well. Sometimes the message may tell you that it cannot delete the file because there’s not enough free disk space. Other times, it will tell you that another person or program is using the file and you have to close any applications that may be accessing it. Well, a lot of times, none of the scenarios make any sense. So, more often than not, you’re left sitting there thinking, “What am I supposed to do now”? Here are some instructions on how to get past that pesky little error message. If you follow them exactly, the file you want to delete really will be deleted by the time you’re finished. Here we go!

1. First, you need to find the location of the file you’re trying to delete, as well as, the file’s name. For example, maybe you’re trying to delete a file called “mywork.txt” and it’s located in your My Documents folder. (The location for that would then be C:\Documents and Settings\Your Name\My Documents. You must find the exact and full location of the file for this to work). Write both of these down on a piece of paper and keep it close to you.

2. Next, go to Start, Turn Off Computer and choose Restart.

3. When your computer starts to boot back up, continuously hit the F8 key on your keyboard until the Advanced Boot Options Menu comes up.

4. From that menu, select the Safe Mode with Command Prompt choice and then log in normally to your local administrator account.

5. In the command prompt box, you’re going to use the letters “cd” (it stands for change directory) with the location of your file that you wrote down earlier. You’ll also need to put quotation marks around the location. So, with my example from up above, you would type in cd “C:\Documents and Settings\Your Name\My Documents.” You don’t put quotes around the cd part, just the location.

6. The next command you need to type in is the delete command, which is “del.” You’ll need to do this with the file name that you want to delete. With my example above, you would type in del mywork.txt. You don’t use quotation marks for this part.

Once you have all that done, the file should be gone. You can go back to your initial location to make sure, but it should be deleted for good. If all goes well, you won’t ever have to worry about that darn file again. This is just an easy way to be rid of all those files that your computer tells you it cannot delete. You can’t beat that feeling of happiness, can you?!

~ Erin

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