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.

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