How to Delete Undeletable Files

Cannot delete file because it is in use by another process; impossible to proceed with the cancellation; system protected file; file deletion failed; try again and you will be luckier. OK, the last message I made up but the substance of the facts does not change: you can not delete a lot of useless files on the hard disk.

Is the computer plotting against you? Clearly not. What you have encountered is a rather frequent problem, which happens when a program or a system process keeps a file "busy" preventing its removal. Usually everything is solved by restarting the PC and issuing the command again to delete the file, but why do so much effort when there are some very comfortable free applications that allow you to delete indelible files?

Yes, you read that right! There are programs that, in just a few clicks, allow you to find out which processes hold a file in "hostage" preventing its elimination: use them and you will be able to solve almost instantaneously all the problems related to undeletable files on your PC. Don't know how to use them? No problem, take five minutes of free time and consult the short tutorial I'm about to offer you. You will be surprised how easy it is!

Delete Undeletable Files on Windows

The problem of "undeletable" files is quite common on Windows, but luckily several applications have been created that allow you to solve it in a really simple way: here are some of the best.

Malwarebytes FileASSASSIN

Malwarebytes FileASSASSIN is a very useful free application produced by the same software house author of Malwarebytes Antimalware, one of the most reliable and complete anti-malware programs available for Windows systems. To download it on your PC, connect to its official website and click on the button Download.

Once the download is complete, open the FileASSASSIN installation package (fileassassin-setup-xx.exe) and click on the button first Yes and then Next. Then accept the conditions of use of the program, putting the check mark next to the item I accept the terms in the License Agreement, and complete the setup by pressing in sequence on NextinstallFinish.

Now, for delete an undeletable file with Malwarebytes FileASSASSIN all you have to do is start the application and select it by pressing the button [...]. When the operation is complete, put the check mark next to the four options located under the heading Attempt FileASSASSIN’s method of file processing and click on the button Run to delete the selected file.

If the software fails to do its full job, you can try to put the files in the deletion queue in order to have them all deleted at the next system restart: just put the check mark next to the item Use delete on Windows reboot functions.


Another software you can consider is LockHunter, which allows you to find out which processes block the deletion of a file and automatically closes them. It works with all versions of Windows (including 64-bit ones) and is extremely easy to use.

To download LockHunter on your PC, connect to the program's website and click on the item Download LockHunter now! which is located at the bottom. Once the download is complete, launch the LockHunter installation package (lockhuntersetup_xx.exe) and first click on Yes and then Next (twice in a row) e Finish to complete the program installation process.

Now, to delete a "locked" file from your PC, right click on it and select the item What’s locking this file from the menu that appears. In the window that opens, click on the buttons Unlock It!Yes e Delete It! and the file should automatically delete itself.

In case of failure (it can happen), click on the button Other, select the voice Delete At Next System Restart from the menu that appears and the file will be deleted the next time you restart Windows.

Delete Undeletable Files on Mac

Su Poppy, the problem of "undeletable" files is less common than in Windows systems. But that doesn't mean it can't happen, and in situations like that, there's no better friend than terminal, the tool equivalent to the Windows Command Prompt that you can find in the folder Other from the OS X Launchpad.

To force the deletion of a file from the Mac terminal you can use the command sudo rm -rf [path to the file to remove], however, before trying such an extreme solution (the rm -rf command must always be used with extreme caution as it instantly deletes the indicated files and folders) I suggest you restart the Finder making click destro + alt on its icon in the bar Dock and selecting the voice Reopen from the menu that appears and close all applications in use. For close an application on OS X just select it and press cmd + q on the keyboard or you can right click on its icon in the Dock bar and select the item Logout give the menu to compare.

If neither of these two moves is successful, you can try with the terminal command that I just showed you. But I recommend: type very carefully the path of the file or folder to delete (or drag the element in question directly into the terminal window to make the path appear automatically), otherwise you risk deleting even things that should remain in the their place!