How to force delete a folder or file on Windows 11

Creating and deleting folders and files is a natural part of the long-term use of any operating system. However, in some rare cases, you may not be able to delete these files or folders at all.

This is where forced deletion can save you. In this post, we will take a look at exactly what forced deletion is, and then look at the specific steps to force delete a folder or file on Windows 11.

What Is Force Delete?

Forced deletion is a Feature of Windows that overrides any conflicting process that might prevent you from deleting any file or folder on your PC. The process that prevents you from deleting a particular file or folder could be anything: a malware attack, overwriting scripts for some other processes, permissions, and so on.

Whatever the reason, by forced deletion, you can easily get rid of your files or folders. So let’s see how you can overwrite this error and force delete your files or folders.

How to force delete a file or folder on Windows 11

1. Take Ownership of the Folder

If it’s a specific folder that you can’t delete, make sure your user account gives you full ownership of it. Here’s how you can fix this:

1.  Open File Explorer, go to the specific folder, right-click on it, and select Properties. Then select Security > Advanced.

2.  Look for the “Owner” field and click “Change” written in front of it. Then, in the Enter, the object names you want to select field, enter “Administrator” and click Check Names. Finally, click OK.


3.   Once you do this, you’ll see that the owner attribute has been changed to admin. Below the Owner property, you’ll find the Replace Owner check box on child containers and objects. Select it and finally click on Apply from below.


4.   By doing so, you will have full ownership of your files and folders. Now try to delete them and see if you face any issues.

2. Go Into Safe Mode

Safe mode is a special way to run Windows, in which your PC starts up with only a minimal set of files and drivers. Interestingly, once you enter safe mode, you can delete files or folders that you cannot delete in normal mode.

In Windows 11, there are different ways to get into Safe Mode. We recommend that you boot directly from the settings menu. Here’s how:

1.   Press Win + I to open the settings menu.

2.   In the Settings tab, scroll down and tap on the “Recover” option.

3.   Click “Restart Now” and your PC will restart.

4.   There, click Troubleshoot.


5.   Select advanced options > Startup Settings.

6.   Click “Restart” and you will be taken to the “Startup Settings” page.


7.  Press 4 to boot your PC into Safe Mode.

Your PC will start up and will boot into Safe Mode. Now give the delete your files or folders; You should be able to remove them fairly quickly. Once done, give your Windows a reboot and you will exit Safe Mode.

Force delete a folder or file on Windows 11

When the usual method of deleting Windows files or folders fails, forced deletion can come in handy. We hope that one of the methods listed above is helpful to you and that you are able to successfully get rid of your Windows files or folders. The only thing you need to remember is not to delete other useful files or folders during the forced deletion process.