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Windows 11

5 Best Solutions When Corrupted Files are not Deleting

Effective methods to deal with stubborn corrupted files that refuse to delete.


Most times, deleting corrupted files may be as simple as a hit on the delete key or via your context menu, but not all the time. This may occur because the file is in use by a program, it is a protected file, there is a disk error due to bad sectors, the presence of malware, and, of course, the file is corrupted.

This can lead to frustration and may occupy valuable space. This article will help you rid yourself of this problem. Before applying the solutions below, try to delete the corrupted files using an administrator account.

1. Perform a Chkdsk scan

Chkdsk (Check Disk) is a Windows built-in utility that scans and repairs disk errors. Performing a Chkdsk scan can fix several problems, including corrupted files, bad sectors, and lost clusters.

To run Chkdsk, use the following steps:

  1. Hold the Windows + S keys simultaneously and enter command in the search field.
  2. While holding the CTRL and Shift keys down, press ENTER to start the Command Prompt as an admin.
  3. When you receive a prompt, click Yes.
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  4. When the Command Prompt opens, enter chkdsk followed by the drive letter of the specific drive you want to scan and fix. For example, if you want to scan and fix errors on drive D, type chkdsk d:.
  5. Enter the following command to fix errors automatically, locate bad sectors, and recover readable information:
    chkdsk /f /r
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  6. After entering the command, press Enter.

2. Delete corrupted files in Safe Mode

Safe Mode is a special mode that starts Windows with fewer drivers and services. This process can help troubleshoot problems with your PC, such as corrupted files that are not deleting. Deleting corrupted files in Safe Mode can help to identify if a driver or service is causing the problem.

Follow the steps below to complete the task:

  1. Press the Window + S keys to access the search box, enter Recovery options, and click on the correct app to open.
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  2. Then, find Advanced startup and select Restart now.
  3. When the next window opens, choose Troubleshoot.
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  4. Then click on Advanced options.
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  5. Afterward, select Startup setting and then select Restart.
  6. Finally, choose any of the following options depending on what you prefer:
    • F4 – Enable Safe Mode
    • F5 – Enable Safe Mode with Networking
    • F6 – Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt
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3. Format the hard drive

Formatting a hard drive is the method of erasing all the data on the drive and preparing it for reuse. This fix helps when deleting corrupted files seems unsuccessful, as it will erase everything on the drive, including any corrupted files. Use this as a last resort solution, as it will also erase any non-corrupted files on the drive.

Here are the steps to format an external drive:

  1. Plug the hard drive into your PC.
  2. Then, ensure you back up all your files on the hard drive, excluding the corrupted file.
  3. Hold the Windows + E keys simultaneously to launch the File Explorer and click This PC.
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  4. Then, right-click the external hard drive’s name and click Format.
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  5. Finally, click Start and OK.

4. Close the Explorer process

Closing the Explorer process, also known as killing the explorer.exe process, helps to restart Windows Explorer. Windows Explorer helps to managing files and folders, as well as the desktop and taskbar. Using this method will reset Windows Explorer and fix any minor problems that may be causing the problem.

  1. Press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys simultaneously to start the Task Manager.
  2. Then, find the Windows Explorer process, select it, and click Restart task at the top of the screen.
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  3. Finally, open Windows Explorer again and attempt to delete the corrupted files again.

5. Force-delete Corrupted Files Using CMD

The Command Prompt, is the command-line interpreter within the Windows operating system. This versatile tool allows users to undertake various tasks, such as repairing system files, removing unwanted files etc. Use the following instructions to force-delete corrupted files:

  1. Hold the Windows + S keys simultaneously and enter command in the search field.
  2. While holding the CTRL and Shift keys down, press ENTER to start the Command Prompt as an admin.
  3. When you receive a prompt, click Yes.
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  4. When in the Command Prompt, enter the following command and hit Enter:
    Del /F /Q /A <file path>
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  5. Here are the interpretations of some codes on the command:
    • /F stands for force deleting files.
    • /Q stands for deleting read-only files.
    • /A stands for selecting files with the archiving attribute.

In conclusion, deleting corrupted files that will not delete can be a lot to deal with. This article explored five of the best solutions to tackle this problem. Other than using Command Prompt to terminate processes or trying Safe Mode, there are third-party file unlocking tools you can also use.

These methods provide different approaches to help you delete those stubborn, corrupted files. It is crucial to exercise caution and backup critical data before attempting any file deletion methods. With the right approach, you can successfully remove troublesome corrupted files and regain control over your system.

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Richard Omachona
Richard is a techie in providing fixes and solutions for computer issues of various kinds. Among his contemporaries, he is a preferred choice. His experiences are vast in Windows operating systems, and several other skills in programming such as Python, Web Frontend designing implementing at industry standards, best practices in HTML, CSS and JavaScript. and basics in Web Backend. He also loves traveling, gaming and music.