Error “Cannot Delete folder: The directory is not empty” Fix

There are many problems I’ve come across while working the computer help-desk. One of the common issues I’ve encountered is one that involves folders not deleting properly. When this issue occurs, an error message appears that says “Cannot Delete foldername: The directory is not empty“.

This problem can happen in Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP. Usually, the problem can be solved by with a Chkdsk scan. This can be done be following these steps.

  1. Type one the following based on your operating system:
    1. Windows 8, 7 & Vista: Click start, type “CHKDSK /F: in the Start Search box, then press “Enter“.
    2. Windows XP: Go to “Start” > “Run“. In the Open: line type “CHKDSK /F” and press “Enter.
      Note: If the folder you are trying to delete is located on a drive that is not your C: drive, add the drive letter to the end of the command. Example: CHKDSK /F E:
      Running Chkdsk in Windows 7
  2. If you used a drive letter in the command above, you will get a prompt about dismounting the drive. Type “Y” for Yes and press “Enter“.
  3. Most likely, you will get a message like the following:
    Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process. Would you like to schedule this volume to be checked the next time the system restarts? (Y/N)
    Type “Y” for Yes and press “Enter” on your keyboard.Chkdsk prompt
  4. Nothing will happen just yet. You’ll have to restart your computer, to let the scan run. Once the scan is completed, try to delete the folder. You should be able to delete it just fine because CHKDSK has fixed the errors preventing it.


  1. dolphin05 says

    Thank You!!
    It worked just fine! Followed the steps you mentioned and got rid off the folder on an external drive.

  2. Maryon Jeane says

    Well that didn’t work! After BitTorrent Sync created files and folders I can’t remove (taking up gigabytes of space, but not recognised at all by any processes or programs and so can’t be deleted), I came to this site in hopes of a solution. After running CHKDSK I’m now having to set everything up again (several hours’ work), but absolutely no difference to the nested folders (including files) created by BitTorrent Sync (Pro version, so I’ve paid good money to be in this state) – ugh!

  3. Ajay says

    very easy to delete this type of file or folder, just rename by pressing F2 and SHIFT+ DELETE, rename whenever error massege is coming. WOW…. SOLVED…

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