Do you want to delete a directory from Windows command prompt(CMD)? This post explains how to use the command
rmdir to delete folders and their contents. You can also find examples for each use case of folder deletion – empty folders, non empty folders, folders with white spaced names etc.
Delete folder from CMD
Run the command
rmdir on the folder.
C:>rmdir emptydir C:>
How to delete a non empty folder
rmdir does not work for folders having some content.
C:>rmdir nonemptydir The directory is not empty.
/s option to delete the folder contents along with the folder. This deletes all subfolders recursively.
C:>rmdir /S nonemptydir nonemptydir, Are you sure (Y/N)? y C:>
Force delete a folder without confirmation
To force delete directory, 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, Windows 7 and 10.
Deleting directory with white spaces in the name
Rmdir can delete files with whitespaces in the name, you just need to wrap up the folder name in double quotes as shown in the below example.
rmdir /Q /S "folder with spaces in the name"
Delete contents of a directory but keep the directory
The usecase here is to delete all the contents of the directory but keep the parent directory so that we do not need to create it again.
rmdir /Q /S does not work here as it deletes the parent directory too. Rather the below commands should do the trick.
forfiles /P directory_path /M * /C "cmd /c if @isdir==FALSE del @file" forfiles /P directory_path /M * /C "cmd /c if @isdir==TRUE rmdir /S /Q @file"
This works in 2 steps – the first command deletes all files, whereas the second one deletes all subdirectories.
To delete a directory, you should have appropriate access permissions on the directory. Otherwise rmdir throws ‘Access denied’ error.