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Windows 7: File - Delete from Command Prompt



File - Delete from Command Prompt

How to Delete a File in Windows from the Command Prompt
Published by Brink
16 Jan 2010
Published by

How to Delete a File in Windows from the Command Prompt


information   Information
This tutorial will show you how to permanently delete a File in Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8 using the DEL or ERASE command from within a command prompt.

This can be handy if you cannot delete the file normally.
Note   Note
While you can run this command in a non-elevated or elevated command prompt, you would get the best results using a elevated command prompt.

warning   Warning
The file will be deleted immediately and not placed in the Recycle Bin first.

EXAMPLE: DEL and ERASE Command
NOTE: You can use either the DEL or ERASE command in the command prompt. They are the same command.
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Here's How:
1. Do step 2, 3, or 4 for how you would like to delete your file(s).

2. To Use an Elevated Command Prompt in Windows
NOTE: This will allow you to delete any file(s) on the computer.
A) Open Folder Options, uncheck the Hide extensions for known file types box, and click on OK. (see screenshot below)
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B) Open an Elevated command prompt in Vista/Windows 7 or Windows 8, and go to step 5 below.
3. To Use a Command Prompt in Windows
NOTE: This will only allow you to delete any file(s) in your user folders.
A) Open Folder Options, uncheck the Hide extensions for known file types box, and click on OK. (see screenshot below)
Name:  Folder_Options.jpg
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B) Open a command prompt in Vista/Windows 7 or Windows 8, and go to step 5 below.
4. To Use a Command Prompt at Boot
NOTE: This will allow you to delete any file(s) on the computer.
A) Open a command prompt at boot in Vista/Windows 7 or Windows 8.

B) In the command prompt, type diskpart and press Enter. (see screenshot below)

C) In the command prompt, type list volume and press Enter. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: This will let you see what the drive letter is for the drive that you want to delete the file in since it may not always be the same drive letter that it is in Windows.

D) After making note of the drive letter, type exit, press Enter, and go to step 5 below. (see screenshot below)
File - Delete from Command Prompt-command-1.jpg
5. Do step 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 for how you would like to delete your file(s).


6. To Delete a Specific File in Command Prompt
A) In the command prompt, type the command below, press Enter, and go to step 11 below.

NOTE: Substitute Full Path of File with extension within quotes below with your files's full path and name with the extension included within quotes instead.

Code:
DEL /F /S /Q /A "Full Path of File with extension"
NOTE: For example, if I wanted to delete a text file named File with the file extension .txt on my desktop, I would type this command below.

Code:
DEL /F /S /Q /A "C:\Users\UserName\Desktop\File.txt"
7. To Delete All Files in a Folder without Confirmation in Command Prompt
NOTE: This will not ask you if it's ok (Y/N) to delete each file when deleting all files in a folder and the folder's subfolders.
A) In the command prompt, type the command below, press Enter, and go to step 11 below.

NOTE: Substitute Full Path of Folder within quotes below with the full path of the folder that you want to delete all files in.

Code:
DEL /F /S /Q /A "Full Path of Folder\*"
NOTE: For example, if I wanted to delete all files in my D:\Projects folder and subfolders, I would type this command below.

Code:
DEL /F /S /Q /A "D:\Projects\*"
8. To Delete All Files in a Folder with Confirmation in Command Prompt
NOTE: This will ask you if it's ok (Y/N) to delete each file when deleting all files in a folder and the folder's subfolders.
A) In the command prompt, type the command below, press Enter, and go to step 11 below.

NOTE: Substitute Full Path of Folder within quotes below with the full path of the folder that you want to delete all files in.

Code:
DEL /P /F /S /A "Full Path of Folder\*"
NOTE: For example, if I wanted to delete all files in my D:\Projects folder and subfolders, I would type this command below.

Code:
DEL /P /F /S /A "D:\Projects\*"
9. To Delete All Files with a Specified File Extension in a Folder without Confirmation in Command Prompt
NOTE: This will not ask you if it's ok (Y/N) to delete each file when deleting all files with a specified file extension in a folder and the folder's subfolders.
A) In the command prompt, type the command below, press Enter, and go to step 11 below.

NOTE: Substitute Full Path of Folder within quotes below with the full path of the folder that you want to delete all files in. Substitute extension with the file extension of the type of files that you want to delete in the folder and it's subfolders.

Code:
DEL /F /S /Q /A "Full Path of Folder\*.extension"
NOTE: For example, if I wanted to delete all txt (text) files in my D:\Projects folder and subfolders, I would type this command below.

Code:
DEL /F /S /Q /A "D:\Projects\*.txt"
10. To Delete All Files with a Specified File Extension in a Folder with Confirmation in Command Prompt
NOTE: This will ask you if it's ok (Y/N) to delete each file when deleting all files with a specified file extension in a folder and the folder's subfolders.
A) In the command prompt, type the command below, press Enter, and go to step 11 below.

NOTE: Substitute Full Path of Folder within quotes below with the full path of the folder that you want to delete all files in. Substitute extension with the file extension of the type of files that you want to delete in the folder and it's subfolders.

Code:
DEL /P /F /S /A "Full Path of Folder\*.extension"
NOTE: For example, if I wanted to delete all txt (text) files in my D:\Projects folder and subfolders, I would type this command below.

Code:
DEL /P /F /S /A "D:\Projects\*.txt"
11. The file(s) should now be deleted.

12. Close the command prompt.
NOTE: If you used a command prompt at boot, then also close the System Recovery Options window and restart the computer.
That's it,
Shawn




31 Jan 2010   #1
Dinesh

Windows® 8 Pro (64-bit)
 
 

Hi Shawn, nice tutorial. But could you please explain why we need the /F /Q /A command?
What does it stand for?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Jan 2010   #2
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Hello Dinesh,

You can see a list and complete explanation of the switches in the example screenshot, but it's just to cover all bases to help make sure that the file is deleted.

/F Force deleting of read-only files.
/Q Quiet mode, do not ask if ok to delete
/A Allows file with set attributes (ex: hidden files) to be deleted
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Jan 2010   #3
Dinesh

Windows® 8 Pro (64-bit)
 
 

Oh that's nice. Thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


31 Jan 2010   #4
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

You're welcome.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 May 2011   #5
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Updated to include more options.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Jun 2013   #6
micass1949

Win 7 Ultimate 64bit
 
 

Sometime it is not possible to erase files even in cmd window while explorer.exe is active. EndTask explorer.exe solves this problem then restart after erasing!!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
Comment

 File - Delete from Command Prompt




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