Trying to delete a file or folder without any success? It happens with all of us all the time. Some files in your computer are too stubborn and won’t let you clean up the disk and free some space by deleting them.
Usually, any attempt to delete these ghost files results in error messages such as an item not found; there has been a sharing violation, etc. Some trojan or virus files too exhibit such behavior by disabling any option to delete or modify the file by altering the system registry.
Now if you are stuck with some undeletable files, the third-party software can help you achieve the same in no time. There are numerous third-party tools that can unlock the locked files and let the user delete the files.
You can also delete ghost files using the command prompt with a command as well as by changing the file type.
In this article, we walk you through a few software to delete undeletable files on Windows PC. In the end, do check out the super cool command prompt and file type changing trick to delete files without any software.
Note: By default, Windows locks files and folders that are necessary for the system to work properly. However, if you are sure about a secured file that needs to be deleted, make sure you create a System Restore point and then proceed.
System Restore point allows you to restore your PC to an earlier point in time in case something goes wrong or if you delete an important file or folder.
Delete stubborn files with these tools
- Price – Free
Malwarebytes is known for its popular Malwarebytes Antivirus solution which is not only effective but also one of the lightest antiviruses you can install on your PC. Above all, it works.
FileAssasin is a free Windows program from Malwarebytes that can unlock and delete undeletable files. It is a lightweight utility but requires installation.
Download and install the software from the link below. After the installation is complete, launch the program.
Malwarebytes on paper does support drag and drop feature. But, I couldn’t get it to work. So, you have to rely on the traditional Browse button and locate the file or folder you want to delete.
Once you have selected the file to delete, you have three options. Attempt FileASSASIN’s method of file processing, use “delete on Windows reboot” function and use normal “delete function”.
Select the first option, and under “Attempt FileASSASIN’s method of file processing” check one of the options listed below.
- Unlock locked file handles.
- Unload modules
- Terminate the file’s process
- Delete file
- Price – Free
LockHunter is another free file unlocker software available for Windows computers. It can help you to delete malware infected files or system protected files with a single click. All the deleted files are moved to the Recycle Bin, just in case you need to restore an important file after deleting it accidentally.
Unlike FileASSASIN, LockHunter has a few more features than delete and unlock files. It shows the process that is keeping the file locked, can unload DDLS from the process, supports Explorer menu integration for easier access and support both 32-bit and 64-bit edition Windows.
LockHunter also allows you to unlock, delete, copy or rename a locked file, schedule file deletion on next OS restart and remove locks process from the hard drive.
- Price – Free
IObit Unlocker is a free utility from the developers at IObit. The company makes system utility tools for Windows, Mac and Android devices.
IObit Unlocker is a free software for Windows devices that can help you to solve “Cannot delete files” error messages on your PC.
The software supports all the versions of Windows since XP. IObit Unlocker offers multiple ways to manage the files including Unlock & Delete, Unlock and Rename, Unlock and Move and Unlock and Copy.
It also supports Explorer menu integration, which means you can right-click on any stubborn files and open it directly in IObit Unlocker. It also supports drag & drops functionality which worked in our testing.
You can use multiple files and unlock them simultaneously. Simply click on the small + Add button and select any other file you want to unlock or delete.
Once the file is selected, you can check the status of the file. Click the small drop-down button beside the Unlock button and select the appropriate action.
If IObit Unlocker fails to remove or unlock the file, use Forced Mode. Check the Forced Mode option from the left side. Forced Mode will terminate all the process that is using the selected file allowing IObit Unlocker to delete or unlock it.
- Price – Free
File Governor is yet another free and a popular alternative to another popular file unlocking tool Unlocker. File Governor can unlock files locked by other programs, delete files with error messages like “access denied” “the source or destination file may be in use” etc.
Apart from unlocking locked files and folders, File Governor search for locked files and folders, terminate the processes that are using the locked file, safely close opened handles and unload DLL modules, Explorer menu integration and multiple files unlocking feature. The software is available in both .exe and portable version.
After installing the software, launch the application directly from the apps or the File Explorer menu.
Click on Scan Files if you want to scan a single file. Click on Scan Folders to scan an entire folder and find undeletable files. Once the files are detected, you can Kill Process, Unlock it or simply remove the content.
EMCO Unlock IT
- Price – Free
EMCO Unlock IT is a neat free utility program for Windows computer that helps you to unlock files and folders even if it’s locked by the system, application or services.
Using the tools, you can easily unlock process for any locked file. It also offers Windows Explorer integration for easier access.
The user interface makes it easy to use. Right-click on any locked file in the File Explorer and open it in EMCO Unlock IT. The program shows the current process using the file and also the permissions related to the file with details like owner and status.
Click on Unlock or Delete option to fix the error.
EMCO Unlock IT is a modern looking File unlocker. However, the full-size software is around 50 MBs, compared to other unlocking tools which are not more than 3-4 MBs.
The software is focused on power users with features to analyze and delete anything and everything unnecessary from the system.
All the software in this article is free to use. Depending on whether you want to deal with a malicious virus-infected file that hides delete and right-click options to a file with permission issues, you can download any of these file unlocker software to get the job done.
Just make sure that you always create a restore point before making any major changes to your computer which also includes deleting undeletable/locked files.
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