How to delete files that are locked in Windows 10

Have you ever encountered this situation before? When you were trying to delete or remove a file or files in Windows 10 but you weren’t able to do so. The reason is that Windows 10 tells you that file is locked and can’t be delete or remove out of your computer.

What was this error and how to stay out of these locked files in Windows 10?

According to many Windows 10 users, including experts, the only reason behind this issue is that some kind of applications are still using that file. That’s why you can’t delete it or move it to Recycle Bin yet. In order to do so, you can try to kill programs that are using the file or just reboot the computer and everything will be fine.

Find out the running applications with Task Manager

It depends on the file you want to delete, for example, if you want to delete a Microsoft Word file, open Task Manager and find out whether Microsoft Word is running under Processes tab or not. If you found any program related to Microsoft Word, just right-click on it and choose “Kill the application”.

In most cases, after rebooting the computer, all running applications will automatically be terminated so you don’t need to find out those programs by yourself. If you have time and rebooting the computer won’t left any damage to your work (unsaved works), then rebooting the PC is the good option. Therefore, you don’t need to waste time to locate the programs that are using the file, which is locked and you can’t delete.

Accessing Safe Mode to delete locked files in Windows 10

If after restarting your computer but the file is still in the lock status, then I would recommend you turning your Windows PC into Safe Mode and delete the file you want from there. Sometimes, those files are related to some system functions or something like that. In order to remove those files, you have to access Safe Mode in Windows 10, locate the file and then delete it.

Unfortunately, these cases are rare and you don’t face it much when using Windows 10. I just want to list out in case of encountering.

Using Command Prompt to delete locked files

Along with using Task Manager or Safe Mode, you can also delete or remove locked files in Windows 10 by using Command Prompt. In order to do so, you have to launch Command Prompt with administrator user and then use “del” command to delete the file. For example, if you want to delete a file that locates at C:\file.doc, open Command Prompt, type: cd C:\, and then use: del file.doc to delete that locked file.