How to force delete a file in Windows 10

The indelible “Access Denied” files are the worst. The same is true for the “Access Denied” you cannot rename files. It almost feels like an insult because it is your computer, you are the owner and it tells you that you cannot delete or rename a file. This article will show you how to force Windows to delete a file so that you can finally regain control of your stuff.

Start by restarting your computer

How does this help? Sometimes when you share or use a file, your operating system temporarily allocates it for later use. A typical example is when you send a file by email and all of a sudden you can’t delete it. Your computer may tell that the file is still in use, but you sent it and even closed your email application.

Once you restart your computer, the timestamp will be removed from the file, so you can remove it as usual. There are even times when using the file is enough for me to assign it to you. For example, if you are using an image in a vector drawing program and then close the program, it may still deny you the ability to remove it. This is because the file is still marked “In Use”, even though you have closed the program.

Lock down the biggest suspect

After reading the previous section, you’re probably thinking, “Yeah, but couldn’t I just close my email or vector drawing software, or whatever I was using?” The answer is yes, and sometimes it works.

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For example, if you were uploading a file through the Microsoft Outlook application and closed the application, then you should be able to delete the file you just sent. The same is often the case if you are using the chat feature. Usually you can close the application, such as Skype or WhatsApp, and delete the file.

Can your antivirus save the day?

Yes, your antivirus can solve your problem. Some pieces of malware will gradually add to your system. They then come together when you enter an innocent website that automatically sends you to a particular ad. The pieces themselves are supposed to fly under the radar of virus checkers because they only become malware when all the pieces are present and activated.

Some less experienced hackers will make specific files impossible to remove. These files have pieces of malware hidden in them. Unfortunately for the hacker, the indelible piece of software or data is a classic sign of their work, drawing more attention to the malware that the hacker is trying to sneak into their system. If your antivirus can search for non-recoverable files, it will delete or quarantine it.

Norton and AVG have posted that their antivirus removes these difficult-to-recover file types by default when scanning your computer.

Change ownership of your file

Suppose you downloaded a file that the owner did not want to share. Let’s say someone burned a DVD for personal use, but a hacker stole it and put it on torrent sites. You download the video, but for some reason, you can’t rename it, change the meta tags, or delete it.

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You need to close your torrent program first because it may be starting the file and preventing you from deleting it. You can continue using your torrent program afterwards; just turn it off to see if the torrent program is causing the problem.

Changing ownership of the file will likely allow you to change its name, metadata, and delete it. However, it is difficult to do, and many devices have multiple ways to make it more difficult. You’d better download a tool that changes ownership for you or forces the file in question to be removed.

Delete the file in safe mode

Many programs on your computer interact with each other. Different programs affect different settings, and some will conflict with the regular operation of your computer.

When you run your computer in safe mode, you are deleting the domain that these programs have on their files. As a result, you may be able to delete files that could not otherwise be deleted using safe mode. Software that runs silently and secretly in the background will likely not be active during safe mode, and therefore will not be able to prevent you from deleting indelible files.

Use a third-party tool

There are many reasons why you should think twice before installing third-party tools on your computer, the most common being that hackers use desktop tools as a back door on your system. What they do is offer a tool that works well and does not contain viruses, but has security flaws that hackers can use to access your system.

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However, if you’re willing to do a lot of research before downloading and installing a third-party tool, then using one to delete your file shouldn’t be a big deal. It can be less risky than trying to alter the ownership of a tool or trying to adjust the key registry.

Free at last

The methods explained in this article should help you get rid of the unwanted file. However, if nothing works, you may want to take your PC to a repair shop.

Did you find a solution to your indelible problem? Has your access been denied or is your file in use elsewhere? Did your antivirus solve the problem? Or did you need to restart your computer? Let us know in the comments.

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