Deleting Files or Folders

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 28, 2016)

4

One of the primary purposes of Windows, as an operating system, is to keep track of all the files and folders that may be created and stored on various media connected to your computer. Typically this means tracking files and folders on disk drives of one type or another. Over time Windows may be called upon to manage thousands of files and folders. (They seem to proliferate as you add and use various programs.)

This means that at some point or another you'll need to delete files or folders from your system. There are a couple of ways you can do this. The first (and perhaps the easiest) is to just select the object (or objects) and press the Delete key on your keyboard. Depending on where the items are located, Windows may ask you if you are really sure you want to do the deletion.

Another way to delete a file or folder is to drag it to the Recycle Bin, which is typically on your desktop. Click on the item once, hold down the mouse button, and drag it to the Recycle Bin. When you release the mouse button, the items are deleted.

Speaking of the Recycle Bin, you should understand that when you delete items—regardless of how you do it—you are only moving them to the Recycle Bin. That means you can later find them and recover them, if desired. (Well, you can do so until you empty the Recycle Bin. Then the items are officially "deleted" and removed from your system.) Items only end up in the Recycle Bin if they are actually on a disk drive attached to your system. If you are deleting items on a network drive, then they are generally not moved to the Recycle Bin; they are permanently deleted.

Of course, Windows also tracks permissions for files and folders, and you need to have the right permissions to be able to do the deletions. If you don't have the right permissions, then Windows informs you that you can't delete the item. If this is the case, the solution is to log out and make sure you log in with an account that does have the permissions (like the administrator's account). If the file or folder you are trying to delete is on a shared network drive, then you may need to contact your network administrator about deleting the item.

 This tip (6165) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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Comments

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What is nine minus 5?

2016-04-01 13:08:38

dave kondracki

I use these tips a lot! I'm not so good with cpu. but I'm learning thanks!!!



what's this 4+5 to prevent auto sub & spam


2016-03-28 12:49:29

Karl Gregg

This would be a good place to explain the use of Ctrl and Shift keys to delete more than one file/folder at a time. IE, Click on one name in a list then hold Shift to select a contiguous group, then Delete; use the Ctrl key to delete separately selected files/folders.


2016-03-28 10:09:04

Edgard Kniriem

You can delete definetively a folder or a file pressing simultaneouly the Delte & Shift keys. Anyway, after deleting definetively, I recomend using a software that cleans the registry . this will turn your system faster.


2016-03-28 08:24:21

WyoSteve

You can avoid placing items in the trash by using Shift-Delete rather than just the Delete key. Remember, though, this action is final and can only be recovered by special programs and then only if done quickly. If you wait to use a recovery program, it may have already been overwritten in whole or in part by actions taken after the deletion.


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