Unable to delete folder, access denied in Windows 10 [Fix]

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
2 Comments
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We know some Windows 10 users are having issues deleting a folder or a specific file within the operating system.

If that is also your case, you are in luck. The tutorial below will show you exactly how to fix the Unable to delete folder due to access denied issue.

First of all, if you are unable to delete a specific folder in Windows 10, it might be because you don’t have enough administrative privileges on your current user. Or perhaps the file or folder is in use by another application you accidentally left open.

What can I do if I am unable to delete a folder open in another file or place?

  1. Log in as administrator
  2. Run BitRaser
  3. Close active apps using the folder
  4. Clean Boot your PC
  5. Additional troubleshooting solutions

1. Log in as administrator

Fix unable to delete folder in WIndows 8 or WINdows 10

You will first need to find out if you have enough privileges on your  Windows 10 device to delete a specific folder.

  1. Reboot your Windows Windows 10 device.
  2. Log in with your administrator account and password.
  3. Go to the directory where the folder is and try to delete it.
  4. If you are prompted by a UAC window, you will need to left-click on the OK button.

2. Run BitRaser

If you’re unable to delete user folders in Windows 10 using conventional methods, you might want to try a different, more professional approach.

Using dedicated file erasure software such as BitRaser comes with many advantages one of which is permanently erasing files that are beyond the scope of data recovery.

BitRaser is a privacy safeguarding software that allows you to securely eliminate no longer needed sensitive data including anything from app traces, browsing history, files, and folders from any device, server, and partition in any operating system.

You can even schedule file erasure and generate comprehensive reports of erasure with perfectly scalable and cost-effective results.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Permanent and secure erasure of single or multiple files, folders, partitions, app traces, sys files, and browsing history
  • Clear unused space and data from mapped drives
  • Schedule erasure tasks at regular intervals
  • Wipe data files with a single right-click
  • Password protection to prevent unauthorized erasure
  • Compliance with PCI DSS file-level data requirements
  • Obtain digitally-signed certificates with proof of erasure for audit purposes
  • Generate comprehensive reports with erasure process and results
BitRaser

BitRaser

Erase confidential files and more securely and permanently with this excellent privacy safeguarding software!

3. Close active apps using the folder

Make sure you don’t have an application that uses the folder you are trying to delete.

Example: If you have a movie or music in the folder you are trying to delete and the files are used by a media player, then you will not be able to delete that specific folder until you close all the applications that use those files.

Note: If you closed the applications and you still have the same error message while trying to delete the specific folder, then you should reboot your Windows 10 device and try again.


Windows 10 temporary files will not delete? Here’s a quick way to get rid of those stubborn temp files!


4. Clean Boot your PC

Try Entering the Safe mode feature in Windows 10 and try to delete the folder from there.

You might have an application that is present in the startup feature of Windows and by using the safe mode feature your system will start only with the programs necessary for Windows 10 to run.

5. Additional troubleshooting solutions

In the problem persists, here are some additional workarounds that may help you fix it:

  • Check your antivirus: Sometimes your antivirus software may prevent you from deleting particular files or folders. You can try to temporarily disable it, delete the respective files/ folders and then, re-enable your antivirus.
  • Delete the file/folder with Command Prompt: Launch Command Prompt as admin and enter del alongside the location of the folder/file you want to delete, and hit Enter.  Eg: del c:\users\Mark\Desktoptext.txt
  • Use Microsoft’s Troubleshooter

There you have it, you don’t really need to be a computer specialist to perform the steps above and delete your files and folders in Windows 10 in just a couple of seconds.

Feel free to leave your questions or suggestions regarding this post in the comments section below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in [date of publishing] and has been since revamped and updated in [date of republishing] for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in November 2014 and was revamped and updated in July 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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  • I’m Sorry, but that’s not it, as you claim it is. People are still coming across issues of deletion even though no app is using anything with-in sed folder. Microsoft claim it’s a bug that still needs to be fixed.

    e:g:- I still have 2 folders on a NON system drive & no matter what I use e:g unlocker, or making sure I have full privileges set + taking ownership etc, I’m still unable to delete the bloody things, Though it lets me change the name of the folders with no issues at all.

    I knew I should’ve kept my darn Mac lol