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How To: Delete undeletable File

Sometimes, while you delete a file, you gets an pop-up error message that tells you it cannot be done. To successfully delete such a file do the following:

  1. Open a Command Prompt window and leave it open.
  2. Close all open programs.
  3. You now need to close EXPLORER.EXE. The proper way to shutdown Explorer is to raise the “Shut
  4. Down Windows” dialog (select “Shut Down…” from the start menu), hold down CTRL+SHIFT+ALT and
    press the CANCEL button. Explorer will exit cleanly.

    Note: The <CTRL+SHIFT+ALT> at the ‘Shut Down Windows’ dialog method of closing Explorer is built
    into Explorer. (It was specifically designed so that developers writing Shell Extensions could get
    Explorer to release their Shell Extension DLLs while debugging them).

  5. Go back to the Command Prompt window and change to the directory where the undeletable file is
    located in. At the command prompt type DEL <filename> where <filename> is the file you wish to
  6. Go back to Task Manager, click File, New Task and enter EXPLORER.EXE to restart the GUI shell.
  7. Close Task Manager

Windows, Windows Explorer, Command Prompt, Delete, Files, Tips and Tricks

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