How to delete a file that won't delete – the best programs to delete

why-not-deleted-file Good day.

Working at a computer, almost all users, without exception, have to delete various files. Usually everything is simple enough, but sometimes …

Sometimes the file just won't get deleted no matter what you do. Most often this happens due to the fact that the file is being used by some process or program, and Windows is not able to delete such a locked file. I am often asked similar questions and I decided to devote this short article to a similar topic …

How to delete a file that is not deleted – several proven methods

Most often, when trying to delete a file, Windows reports in which application it is open. For example, in Fig. 1 shows the most common mistake. In this case, deleting the file is quite simple – close Word, and then delete the file (sorry for the tautology).

By the way, if you do not have the Word application open (for example), perhaps you just have a process that blocks this file. To complete the process, go to the task manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc – relevant for Windows 7, 8), then in the processes tab, find this process and close it. The file can then be deleted.

1-file deletion error

Figure: 1 is a typical deletion error. Here, by the way, at least the program that blocked this file is indicated.

Method number 1 – using the Lockhunter utility

In my humble opinion, the Lockhunter utility is one of the best of its kind.


Official website:

Pros: free, conveniently embedded in Explorer, deletes files and unblocks any processes (deletes even those files that Unlocker does not delete!), Works in all versions Windows: XP, Vista, 7, 8 (32 and 64 bits).

Cons: no support for Russian (but the program is very simple, for most it is not a minus).

After installing the utility, simply right-click on the file and select 'What is locking this file' from the context menu.

2-lockhunter - how to delete a file that is not deleted

Figure: 2 lockhunter will start looking for processes to unlock the file.

Then just choose what to do with the file: either delete it (then click on Delete It!), Or unblock it (click Unlock It!). By the way, the program supports deleting files even after reboot Windows, to do this, open the Other tab.

3-choice of action when deleting a non-removable file

Figure: 3 choice of action when deleting a non-deleted file.

Be careful – Lockhunter deletes files quickly and easily, even system files Windows are not a hindrance for it. If not handled carefully, you may have to restore the system!

Method number 2 – using the fileassassin utility


Official website:

Very, very not a bad utility for easy and quick removal of files. The main disadvantage that I would highlight is the absence of a context menu in the explorer (each time you need to run the utility 'manually'.

To delete a file in fileassassin, run the utility, and then point it to the desired file. Then just put a checkmark in front of the four items (see Fig. 4) and click the Execute button.

4-deleting a file in File assasin

Figure: 4 deleting a file in fileassasin

In most cases, the program easily deletes the file (although sometimes it reports access errors, but this happens very rarely …).

Method number 3 – using the Unlocker utility

A highly advertised utility for deleting files. It is recommended literally on every site and every author. That is why I could not help but include it in such an article. Moreover, in most cases it still helps to solve the problem …


Official website:

Cons: no official support Windows 8 (at least for now). Although on my system Windows 8. 1 was installed without problems and works quite well.

To delete a file – just click on the problematic file or folder, and then select the 'magic wand' – Unlocker from the context menu.

5 - deleting a file in unlocker

Figure: 5 Deleting a file in Unlocker.

Now you just choose what you want to do with the file (in this case, delete). Then the program will try to fulfill your request (sometimes Unlocker offers to delete the file after reboot Windows).

5 - deleting a file in unlocker 2

Figure: 6 Selecting an action in the Unlocker.

Method number 4 – delete the file in safe mode

All operating systems Windows support the ability to boot in safe mode: i.e. only the most necessary drivers, programs and services are loaded, without which the operating system is simply impossible.

For Windows 7

To enter Safe Mode, press the F8 key when turning on the computer.

You can generally press it every second until you see a selection menu on the screen, in which you will be able to boot the system in safe mode. Select it and press Enter.

If such a menu is not displayed in front of you, read the article on how to enter Safe Mode.

7 - Microsoft Virtual PC 2007_2013-11-02_18-56-38

Figure: 7 Safe Mode in Windows 7

For Windows 8

In my opinion, the easiest and fastest way to enter safe mode in Windows 8 looks like this:

  1. press the Win + R buttons and enter the msconfig command, then Enter;
  2. then go to the boot section and select boot in safe mode (see Fig. 8);
  3. save settings and restart your computer.

Windows 8 - safe mode

Figure: 8 Start safe mode at Windows 8

If you boot in safe mode, then all unnecessary utilities, services and programs not used by the system will not be loaded, which means that our file will most likely not be used by any third-party programs! Therefore, in this mode, you can fix incorrectly working software, and, accordingly, delete files that are not deleted in normal mode.

Method # 5 – using bootable LiveCDs

Such discs can be downloaded, for example, on the sites of popular antiviruses:

DrWeb (; Nod 32 (

LiveCD / DVD is a bootable disk that allows you to boot into the operating system without having to boot from your hard drive! Those. even if your hard drive is clean, the system will boot anyway! This is very convenient when you need to copy or view something on a computer, but Windows has flown, or there is no time to install it.

Deleting Files and Folders Using Dr.Web LiveCD

Figure: 9 Deleting Files and Folders Using Dr.Web LiveCD

After booting from such a disk, you can delete any files! Be careful as in this case, no system files will be hidden from you and will not be protected or blocked, as it would be if you were working in your operating system Windows.

How to burn a LiveCD emergency bootable disc – this article will help you if you have problems with this issue.

How to burn a LiveCD to a USB flash drive:

That's all. Using several methods above, you can delete almost any file from your computer.

The article was completely revised after its first publication in 2013.

Happy work!

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