ForceDel lets you delete any file -- even locked ones

Deleting files on a PC is normally very easy. But sometimes, just occasionally, Windows will tell you that it can’t help because the file is "in use". And that can quickly become very frustrating, especially if you can’t see why the file is open, or it’s something you really need to delete (a malware component, say).

To resolve this you should try closing all running applications, rebooting, perhaps try to delete the file from Safe Mode. But if this doesn’t work then you could always turn to ForceDel, a tiny command line tool which can forcibly delete files, even if they’re open in another application.

Don’t be put off by its command line nature -- ForceDel is extremely simple to use. There are a few command line switches (run ForceDel on its own to see them), but essentially all you have to do is give the program the name of the file you’d like to delete -- ForceDel "c:\users\MyName\Desktop\" -- and it’ll try to close any open handles, before eliminating the file for you.

And if you want to keep things really simple, there’s not really any need to use the command line at all. Just drag and drop the file you want to delete onto ForceDel, and the program will remove it right away.

Or, if course, you could use one of the GUI competitors, most notably Unlocker. This allows you to unlock files from their right-click menu, and provides some useful extras (it can show you which process has locked a file, for instance, which may tell you a great deal in itself).

But whatever you’re doing, it’s worth keeping in mind that this is a very risky business. If an application thinks it has a file open, but you’ve just erased it, then there’s no way to tell what might happen next. Crashes, lockups, file corruption, maybe nothing -- it all depends on your individual setup, and how that program reacts.

As a general rule, then, ForceDel should be used only when absolutely necessary. Save any currently open files before you start unlocking. And restart your system as soon as you can safely do so, after the target files have been deleted, to eliminate the chance of any problems cropping up later.

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