How to Delete Corrupted Files?

Updated on September 8th, 2017

This article talks about solutions to delete corrupted files that cannot be deleted normally, report corrupted files and provides method to recover deleted files that are deleted accidently.

Symptoms that you cannot delete corrupted files

In general, it’s easy to delete files and many users are likely to delete files by accident. However, corrupted files are not that easy to delete as usual. Here are error messages you may receive when deleting a corrupted file.

Cannot delete file name: The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable.
The file system structure on disk is corrupted and unreadable. Please run the chkdsk utility on the device with label “Volume_name”

It’s common that you can’t delete files in use, but you might be frustrated if corrupted files can’t be deleted.

Here is a real case:

My laptop is running Windows 7. Recently I installed a third party program which required changing some dll files in System 32. After rebooting system, I got an error message saying some dll file was missing. I tried to put the backed up dll file to the location where it belongs to. But I couldn’t delete the corrupted file. I read posts and solutions on forums and sites, and tried many solutions such as changing extension, taking ownership, ect. But none of them worked. I also tried ending task in task manage and then attempted to delete it, but got “Access denied” error…

Reasons can explain why files get corrupted:

  • A file becomes corrupted may due to a bug or defect in the software installed on your computer. You can update software to fix bugs.
  • This problem can be the result of virus or malware attack which may corrupts or delete files.
  • Storage device has power related issues.
  • Unplug external drives directly without clicking safe removal.
  • Improper system shutdown or sudden power failure

How  to delete corrupted files?

Corrupted files are files that become inoperable or unusable and they may bring grinding halt to system or even causes the loss of important data. If you cannot delete corrupted files, you can try following methods to delete them.

Method 1: Reboot computer and delete corrupted data

  1. Close all programs and files you are editing.
  2. Restart computer and then boot to Windows.
  3. Log in Administrator account and find out corrupted files you want to delete. Drag files to Recycle Bin.
  4. Empty Recycle Bin.

Method 2: Delete corrupted files in Safe Mode

  1. Reboot computer and F8 before booting to Windows.
  2. Select Safe Mode from the list of options on screen, then enter safe mode.
  3. Browse and locate the files you want to delete. Select these file and press Delete button. They will be put to Recycle Bin.
  4. Open Recycle Bin and delete them from Recycle Bin.

Method 3: Delete files using command prompt

  1. Click Start button and type cmd in searching box.
  2. Right click “Command Prompt” from search list and choose “Run as administrator”. Then Command Prompt pops up.
  3. Type the following command and press Enter.

DEL /F /Q /A <File Path>

Remember replace <File path> with the path of the file you want to delete, for example, DEL /F /Q /A C:\Users\LJ\Desktop\120.vhd

/F means the force deletion of files, Q/ stands for the force deletion of read-only files and /A selects files with the ready for archiving attribute.

Method 4: Delete corrupted files permanentlty with PartitionGuru

Eassos PartitionGuru is free and useful hard drive management software which can resize / clone / recover partition, edit raw data, manage virtual disk, check bad sectors, wipe data, etc. Apart from that, you can use it to delete files that can’t be deleted in normal way.

  1. Install and run PartitionGuru on your computer. Then find out the corrupted file you want to delete in this partition manager.
  2. Right-click the file and select “Delete Files Directly”.delete corrupted files
  3. Click “Delete” button and the file will be deleted directly without putting into Recycle Bin.delete corrupt files