Delete directory/folder from command line

by admin on January 2, 2009

We can delete a directory or folder from command line using rmdir command. See syntax below

rmdir directoryname

Examples:

C:\>rmdir emptydir
C:\>
C:\>rmdir nonemptydir
The directory is not empty.
C:\>rmdir /S nonemptydir
nonemptydir, Are you sure (Y/N)? y
C:\>

As you can see in the above examples, we need to use /S to delete a non empty directory.

To delete directory in quiet mode, without being asked for confirmation, we can use /Q switch.

rmdir /Q /S nonemptydir

We can also use ‘rd’ in place of ‘rmdir‘. Both names refer to the same command. This command works on Windows 2000, Windows XP, Server 2003, Vista and Windows 7.

Deleting directory with white spaces in the name :

You can specify the directory name in quotes. See the example below.

rmdir /Q /S "folder with spaces in the name"

Errors

To delete a directory, you should have appropriate access permissions on the directory. Otherwise you would get ‘Access denied’ error.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous February 9, 2010 at 2:50 pm

thnx.

Reply

Anonymous March 31, 2010 at 9:18 am

thanks, I was looking for this!

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Anonymous May 20, 2010 at 9:11 am

thnx

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Anonymous June 13, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Thank you very much

Reply

Anonymous June 22, 2010 at 3:56 pm

tanx buddy…..

Reply

Anonymous August 27, 2010 at 10:23 am

Thank you my friend

Reply

Brian November 26, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Thanks dude..I was looking for command line way of deleting nonempty folders.. cheers!!!

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Anonymous January 13, 2011 at 4:35 pm

good post ……..

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Anonymous February 15, 2011 at 5:30 am

Good old DOS….something tells me one day the world will be saved by a DOS operation. ; )

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Anonymous July 23, 2011 at 8:40 am

cannot delete… access is denied. am trying to delete a directory on a flash drive. cannot access permissions because explorer isn't working. using win7

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Diman December 15, 2011 at 4:09 am

Note:
Don’t forget to leave a “space” in the command line..
rmdir /Q /S_“folder with spaces in the name” I meant “space”, ait’t “underscore”. And upper case of “S”. Good luck!

Reply

chetan January 9, 2012 at 1:04 am

Hi
can you show me an example of command to delete this path in bat file.
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office Communicator

am not able to do this . some error s

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admin February 2, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Is this in Windows 7/Vista?.
If so then you need to take ownership of the files. You can do that with below command from elevated administrator command prompt.
takeown /F "c:\Program Files\Microsoft Office Communicator" /R /A

then run the below command to delete this folder.

rmdir /S "c:\Program Files\Microsoft Office Communicator"

Ashwani February 2, 2012 at 6:40 am

cd program files\microsoft office communicator
then enter press
rd /s “filename”
Then enter

Reply

Yoyi August 14, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Thank you so much! =D

Reply

Raj February 2, 2013 at 4:51 am

I am getting the following error “The process cannot access the file because it is being us
ed by another process.” what should be the case now?

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Tito April 15, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Could you kindly post the command for deleting my folder which is at Drive G. Name of the folder is Recycler. Thanks

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Andrew June 19, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Thank you so much. I was trying to delete an entire directory of files, about 200k folders and files, and it kept throwing a warning “this folder is shared with other people”. No such warning with this command!

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Chauhan Nitin June 23, 2013 at 5:55 pm

i followed your instructions but i’m getting error to delete a folder in cmd. ERROR = The system cannot find the the specified…

http://postimg.org/image/88qxlnlrt/

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Jun December 5, 2013 at 6:19 am

Thanks, it is very useful

Reply

Fahd June 3, 2014 at 2:06 pm

i have installed new win 8 n a back up of old win 8 is in c drive with a name windows old n its not being deleted by ANY means . i have tried this one as well but it says on all files access is denied

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Bose June 18, 2014 at 6:14 am

I tried the process many times but it says “access is denied”….
My entire path is “C:\program files\alwil software\avast5″ . How should i delete this avast5 folder with all the folders inside it????????????

Reply

nick July 18, 2014 at 4:31 am

run cmd.exe as administrator
make sure avast service is not running

wrf November 7, 2014 at 9:08 pm

Every time I try it says the file cant be found

Reply

somu December 12, 2014 at 12:43 pm

you’re really awesome. Googled a 1000 times just for this line

“C:\>rmdir /S nonemptydir
nonemptydir, Are you sure (Y/N)? y”

Thank you so much for your help. This changed my life.

Reply

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