Here are answers to some common questions about problems you might encounter when deleting files and folders.

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What might prevent me from deleting a file or folder?

If you don't have the proper rights (or permissions) for a file or folder, you can't delete it. If you didn't create the file, you might not be able to delete it, even if it is stored in the Public folder. If that's the case, you need to ask the owner of the file to delete it. To learn more about permissions, see What are permissions?

Also, you can't delete a file (or the folder that contains it) if the file is currently open in a program. Make sure that the file isn't open in any program, and then try to delete the file or folder again.

What does it mean if I try to delete a file and I see an error that the file is in use?

It means that the file is being used by a program. To delete the file, you need to find the program that the file is open in and close both the file and the program. If you close the program, but the file still won't delete, restart your computer. You can view all programs that are currently running on your computer in Task Manager. To learn more about Task Manager, see Open Task Manager.


  • If you're not the only person logged on to the computer, another person might be using the file.

Sometimes after I delete all the files in a folder, the folder still remains. How do I delete the folder?

Close all open programs and then try to delete the folder. If this doesn't work, restart your computer and try to delete the folder again. Most likely, the folder wasn't deleted because another program was using a file that was in the folder.

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