Can't Delete Files

I Cannot Delete a File/Folder in Windows 10

Windows 10 has its fair share of bugs and one of those can be the inability to delete a file/folder. The normal process of deleted file or folder is the right click on the selected file and select "delete" from the menu. After that, your file or folder will normally end up in the recycle bin, unless it's too large to be stored there.

However, sometimes things can wrong within Windows, and that includes a nuisance file or folder that cannot be deleted or even moved to a subfolder where it's out of the way. This applies to basically any file or folder within your pictures, videos, music and documents.

When you attempt to delete the file/folder you get a message stating "Could not find this item" with another message below "This is no longer located in C:/Users/YourComputer/Pictures. Verify the item's location and try again."

Windows message telling you it can't delete the file

When you click on the "Try Again" button absolutely nothing happens, and that pesky file/folder that you cannot delete is really starting to push your patience.
 
I searched high and low on Google for a solution and I couldn't believe how bad their search results actually were. For example, it was delivering help guides for Windows XP, Vista and 7 all on its 1st page, despite asking for a solution to Windows 10 only. When it came to the help guides, they were either way too complicated for the average computer user, or just didn't work at all.

It was time to take matters into my own hands and forget Google and the Internet and fiddle with things myself.


So How Did I Find a Solution to Delete Those Pesky Files/Folders That Wouldn't Budge?

There are actually 2 very simple ways to delete those stubborn files/folders that you can't delete in the usual way. The 1st way is to right click on the affected file/folder and then select "Send to > Compressed (Zipped) Folder" from the menu. Windows 10 will then create a 2nd file in a compressed format, even though the file technically doesn't exist.

Windows option to compress a file or folder

You should then see 2 files with same name, except one has a zip icon on it. Simply highlight both files and delete them in the usual way by right clicking and selecting "delete". Hopefully, both files will be sent to the recycle bin where you can then permanently delete them.

A file which has compressed

Unfortunately this method doesn't always work, but thankfully there is another way. For this you need to download a free compression program called WinRAR. WinRAR works in very much the same way as Windows built-in compression tool, but has more features.
 
WinRAR is available in multiple languages and in 32 and 64-bit versions. Simply click on your language and bit version. In most cases, 64-bit version if you have a modern computer that was released in the last 3 or 4 years.
 

You can download WinRAR at the following link.

WinRAR will only take a few minutes to download and install. Once this is complete, simply go back to the file/folder that you can't delete and right click and select "Add to Archive" from the menu.

Add to archive option using WinZip

Once you select Add to archive you will be given several more options. The one were are interested in is putting a tick in the box that says "Delete files after archiving." Once that is done simply click on "OK".

Delete file option using WinZip

You should now find that the file/folder you couldn't delete has been sent to the recycle bin and the new compressed version has taken its place. You should now be able to delete both the compressed and the original file that's been sent to the recycle bin without any problems whatsoever.
 

That's basically how I deleted those files which couldn't be deleted in the normal way. Hopefully you will be able to delete those files/folders by using the 1st method, but if you can't, it's always handy to have a great program such as WinRAR on hand.

Oh, by the way, this guide also applies to older versions of Windows, so give it a go.