How to delete a stubborn file in Windows 10: a few simple methods

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How to delete a stubborn file in Windows 10: a few simple methods
How to delete a stubborn file in Windows 10: a few simple methods

Probably, there is no need to say that almost any Windows user of the latest generations has encountered a situation where some files (not even system files) can not be deleted from the hard drive. The reason for their blocking by the operating system remains a mystery to many. However, in order to figure out how to delete an undeletable file in Windows 10, it is completely optional to delve into the essence of this phenomenon. Below are some simple methods that will allow you to get rid of most blocked objects (naturally, only on the condition that they are not important system components, without which Windows cannot work at all).

What is meant by undeletable files?

First of all, let's dwell on which files can be classified as undeletable, and why they are soare. If we consider the main possible situations, the following components can be attributed to such objects:

  • system files and directories;
  • elements of active applications and running processes;
  • files blocked by attributes restricting access to them;
  • objects that cannot be deleted due to lack of rights;
  • Remnants of deleted applications;
  • components of viruses or infected documents.

Windows 10 won't delete active program files: what to do?

The first and most common situation is when the user tries to delete a program or some of its components, but it is currently active. Quite often, this can be observed with applications that, when the main window is closed, are minimized to the system tray without stopping working in the background (for example, uTorrent, TeamViewer and others). In this case, deleting files that cannot be deleted in Windows 10 can only be done after the active application has completely shut down.

Terminate an active application
Terminate an active application

To be completely sure that none of its components are currently being used by system or user processes, you need not only to exit the program, but also to see if there is an active process in the "Task Manager" (when If necessary, you will need to complete it, and then try to delete again).

How to delete a stubborn file in Windows 10: simple solutions

However, often the problem iscompletely different. This is usually due to the blocking of such objects by the operating system itself or to the setting of special restrictions. How to delete an undeletable file in Windows 10 based on such situations? For the simplest solutions, we recommend doing the following:

  • rename the object that cannot be deleted (sometimes this may require administrator confirmation, or the rename item will be marked with the appropriate icon);
  • Disabling the attributes of a stubborn file
    Disabling the attributes of a stubborn file
  • in the file properties, uncheck the read-only and hidden file attributes (this will help delete the parent directory as well);
  • try to delete the object when starting in safe mode;
  • check the creation or modification date of the object, and if it differs from the system one (for example, a few decades), open the file in the most suitable application and resave it.

Changing the owner of a undeletable object and changing access rights

One of the most common problems is that the user does not have administrator rights to access the problematic object. How to delete an undeletable file in Windows 10 with this question?

Setting full access rights to a file
Setting full access rights to a file

In this case, the easiest way is to use the properties of a component or directory, and then set full access to them by selecting either an arbitrary user registered in the system, or an entire group.

If you add rights like thismethod does not work, you can use the change of the owner of the object. Most often it will be TrustedInstaller.

Change the owner of a non-deleted object
Change the owner of a non-deleted object

By clicking on the change owner link, set either yourself as a new user, or add a user manually. Keep in mind that when performing such an operation on system directories, it will not be possible to change the owner for some components at all.

Bypass blocking handles

The above method may seem rather complicated to many, therefore, as a simpler solution, we can suggest using a special program that deletes undeletable files in Windows 10 or in any other operating systems of the entire family. Of course, we are talking about the Unlocker application.

Utility Unlocker
Utility Unlocker

During the installation process, it embeds its own commands in the context menu of Explorer and most well-known file managers. Therefore, to delete the selected object, it is enough to use the utility call from the RMB menu. Then select the required action from the drop-down list as an action. But this program for the forced deletion of files and folders does not always allow you to get rid of blocked objects. In some cases, you may first need to display the entire list of processes that can use the component at the current time, force them to terminate, and only then try again.

Removing leftover programs and files of virus applets

Very often you can observe situationswhen, after uninstalling the main components of an application, it is also impossible to get rid of the remnants. Typically, such objects are deleted automatically after a system reboot. But if this does not happen, it is recommended to initially remove the program itself using special uninstallers like iObit Uninstaller, which automatically clean up residual garbage.

iObit Uninstaller Toolkit
iObit Uninstaller Toolkit

In case of incorrect removal of the application in such programs, you can use a special tool to search for and remove residual program components. In addition, it is the programs of this direction that allow you to remove even programs built into the Windows shell that cannot be uninstalled by conventional methods (except perhaps using the PowerShell console command set or the command line).

Finally, uninstaller utilities are very often useful in removing virus adware applets that are not masked in the system and are presented as separate applications. When uninstalling, leftovers in the form of files and registry keys are automatically deleted.

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