Say, there is a variable called
%pathtofolder%, as it makes it clear it is a full path of a folder.
I want to delete every single file and subfolder in this directory, but not the directory itself.
But, there might be an error like 'this file/folder is already in use'... when that happens, it should just continue and skip that file/folder.
Is there some command for this?</div
You can use this shell script to clean up the folder and files within
del /q "C:Temp*" FOR /D %%p IN ("C:Temp*.*") DO rmdir "%%p" /s /q
Create a batch file (say, delete.bat) containing the above command. Go to the location where the delete.bat file is located and then run the command: delete.bat</div
rmdir is my all time favorite command for the job. It works for deleting huge files and folders with subfolders. A backup is not created, so make sure that you have copied your files safely before running this command.
RMDIR "FOLDERNAME" /S /Q
This silently removes the folder and all files and subfolders.</div
The simplest solution I can think of is removing the whole directory with
RD /S /Q folderPath
Then creating this directory again:
This will remove the folders and files and leave the folder behind.
pushd "%pathtofolder%" && (rd /s /q "%pathtofolder%" 2>nul & popd)
@ECHO OFF SET THEDIR=path-to-folder Echo Deleting all files from %THEDIR% DEL "%THEDIR%*" /F /Q /A Echo Deleting all folders from %THEDIR% FOR /F "eol=| delims=" %%I in ('dir "%THEDIR%*" /AD /B 2^>nul') do rd /Q /S "%THEDIR%%%I" @ECHO Folder deleted. EXIT
...deletes all files and folders underneath the given directory, but not the directory itself.</div
None of the answers as posted on 2018-06-01, with the exception of the single command line posted by foxidrive, really deletes all files and all folders/directories in
%PathToFolder%. That's the reason for posting one more answer with a very simple single command line to delete all files and subfolders of a folder as well as a batch file with a more complex solution explaining why all other answers as posted on 2018-06-01 using DEL and FOR with RD failed to clean up a folder completely.
The simple single command line solution which of course can be also used in a batch file:
pushd "%PathToFolder%" 2>nul && ( rd /Q /S "%PathToFolder%" 2>nul & popd )
This command line contains three commands executed one after the other.
The first command PUSHD pushes current directory path on stack and next makes
%PathToFolder% the current directory for running command process.
This works also for UNC paths by default because of command extensions are enabled by default and in this case PUSHD creates a temporary drive letter that points to that specified network resource and then changes the current drive and directory, using the newly defined drive letter.
PUSHD outputs following error message to handle STDERR if the specified directory does not exist at all:
The system cannot find the path specified.
This error message is suppressed by redirecting it with
2>nul to device NUL.
The next command RD is executed only if changing current directory for current command process to specified directory was successful, i.e. the specified directory exists at all.
The command RD with the options
/S removes a directory quietly with all subdirectories even if the specified directory contains files or folders with hidden attribute or with read-only attribute set. The system attribute does never prevent deletion of a file or folder.
Not deleted are:
Folders used as the current directory for any running process. The entire folder tree to such a folder cannot be deleted if a folder is used as the current directory for any running process.
Files currently opened by any running process with file access permissions set on file open to prevent deletion of the file while opened by the running application/process. Such an opened file prevents also the deletion of entire folder tree to the opened file.
Files/folders on which the current user has not the required (NTFS) permissions to delete the file/folder which prevents also the deletion of the folder tree to this file/folder.
The first reason for not deleting a folder is used by this command line to delete all files and subfolders of the specified folder, but not the folder itself. The folder is made temporarily the current directory for running command process which prevents the deletion of the folder itself. Of course this results in output of an error message by command RD:
The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process.
File is the wrong term here as in reality the folder is being used by another process, the current command process which executed command RD. Well, in reality a folder is for the file system a special file with file attribute directory which explains this error message. But I don't want to go too deep into file system management.
This error message, like all other error messages, which could occur because of the three reasons written above, is suppressed by redirecting it with
2>nul from handle STDERR to device NUL.
The third command, POPD, is executed independently of the exit value of command RD.
POPD pops the directory path pushed by PUSHD from the stack and changes the current directory for running the command process to this directory, i.e. restores the initial current directory. POPD deletes the temporary drive letter created by PUSHD in case of a UNC folder path.
Note: POPD can silently fail to restore the initial current directory in case of the initial current directory was a subdirectory of the directory to clean which does not exist anymore. In this special case
%PathToFolder% remains the current directory. So it is advisable to run the command line above not from a subdirectory of
One more interesting fact: I tried the command line also using a UNC path by sharing local directory
C:Temp with share name
Temp and using UNC path
\%COMPUTERNAME%TempCleanTest assigned to environment variable
PathToFolder on Windows 7. If the current directory on running the command line is a subdirectory of a shared local folder accessed using UNC path, i.e.
Subfolder1 is deleted by RD, and next POPD fails silently in making
C:TempCleanTestSubfolder1 again the current directory resulting in
Z:CleanTest remaining as the current directory for the running command process. So in this very, very special case the temporary drive letter remains until the current directory is changed for example with
cd /D %SystemRoot% to a local directory really existing. Unfortunately POPD does not exit with a value greater 0 if it fails to restore the initial current directory making it impossible to detect this very special error condition using just the exit code of POPD. However, it can be supposed that nobody ever runs into this very special error case as UNC paths are usually not used for accessing local files and folders.
For understanding the used commands even better, open a command prompt window, execute there the following commands, and read the help displayed for each command very carefully.
Single line with multiple commands using Windows batch file explains the operators
& used here.
Next let us look on the batch file solution using the command DEL to delete files in
%PathToFolder% and FOR and RD to delete the subfolders in
@echo off setlocal EnableExtensions DisableDelayedExpansion rem Clean the folder for temporary files if environment variable rem PathToFolder is not defined already outside this batch file. if not defined PathToFolder set "PathToFolder=%TEMP%" rem Remove all double quotes from folder path. set "PathToFolder=%PathToFolder:"=%" rem Did the folder path consist only of double quotes? if not defined PathToFolder goto EndCleanFolder rem Remove a backslash at end of folder path. if "%PathToFolder:~-1%" == "" set "PathToFolder=%PathToFolder:~0,-1%" rem Did the folder path consist only of a backslash (with one or more double quotes)? if not defined PathToFolder goto EndCleanFolder rem Delete all files in specified folder including files with hidden rem or read-only attribute set, except the files currently opened by rem a running process which prevents deletion of the file while being rem opened by the application, or on which the current user has not rem the required permissions to delete the file. del /A /F /Q "%PathToFolder%*" >nul 2>nul rem Delete all subfolders in specified folder including those with hidden rem attribute set recursive with all files and subfolders, except folders rem being the current directory of any running process which prevents the rem deletion of the folder and all folders above, folders containing a file rem opened by the application which prevents deletion of the file and the rem entire folder structure to this file, or on which the current user has rem not the required permissions to delete a folder or file in folder tree rem to delete. for /F "eol=| delims=" %%I in ('dir "%PathToFolder%*" /AD /B 2^>nul') do rd /Q /S "%PathToFolder%%%I" 2>nul :EndCleanFolder endlocal
The batch file first makes sure that environment variable
PathToFolder is really defined with a folder path without double quotes and without a backslash at the end. The backslash at the end would not be a problem, but double quotes in a folder path could be problematic because of the value of
PathToFolder is concatenated with other strings during batch file execution.
Important are the two lines:
del /A /F /Q "%PathToFolder%*" >nul 2>nul for /F "eol=| delims=" %%I in ('dir "%PathToFolder%*" /AD /B 2^>nul') do rd /Q /S "%PathToFolder%%%I" 2>nul
The command DEL is used to delete all files in the specified directory.
/Ais necessary to process really all files including files with the hidden attribute which DEL would ignore without using option
/Fis necessary to force deletion of files with the read-only attribute set.
/Qis necessary to run a quiet deletion of multiple files without prompting the user if multiple files should be really deleted.
>nulis necessary to redirect the output of the file names written to handle STDOUT to device NUL of which can't be deleted because of a file is currently opened or user has no permission to delete the file.
2>nulis necessary to redirect the error message output for each file which can't be deleted from handle STDERR to device NUL.
The commands FOR and RD are used to remove all subdirectories in specified directory. But
for /D is not used because of FOR is ignoring in this case subdirectories with the hidden attribute set. For that reason
for /F is used to run the following command line in a separate command process started in the background with
dir "%PathToFolder%*" /AD /B 2>nul
DIR outputs in bare format because of
/B the directory entries with attribute
D, i.e. the names of all subdirectories in specified directory independent on other attributes like the hidden attribute without a path.
2>nul is used to redirect the error message output by DIR on no directory found from handle STDERR to device NUL.
The redirection operator
> must be escaped with the caret character,
^, on the FOR command line to be interpreted as a literal character when the Windows command interpreter processes this command line before executing the command FOR which executes the embedded
dir command line in a separate command process started in the background.
FOR processes the captured output written to handle STDOUT of a started command process which are the names of the subdirectories without path and never enclosed in double quotes.
FOR with option
/F ignores empty lines which don't occur here as DIR with option
/B does not output empty lines.
FOR would also ignore lines starting with a semicolon which is the default end of line character. A directory name can start with a semicolon. For that reason
eol=| is used to define the vertical bar character as the end-of-line character which no directory or file can have in its name.
FOR would split up the line into substrings using space and horizontal tab as delimiters and would assign only the first space/tab delimited string to specified loop variable
I. This splitting behavior is not wanted here because of a directory name can contain one or more spaces. Therefore
delims= is used to define an empty list of delimiters to disable the line splitting behavior and get assigned to the loop variable,
I, always the complete directory name.
Command FOR runs the command RD for each directory name without a path which is the reason why on the RD command line the folder path must be specified once again which is concatenated with the subfolder name.
For understanding the used commands and how they work, open a command prompt window, execute there the following commands, and read entirely all help pages displayed for each command very carefully.
CD [Your_Folder] RMDIR /S /Q .
You'll get an error message, tells you that the RMDIR command can't access the current folder, thus it can't delete it.
From this useful comment (thanks to Moritz Both), you may add
&& between, so
RMDIR won't run if the
CD command fails (e.g. mistyped directory name):
CD [Your_Folder] && RMDIR /S /Q .
From Windows Command-Line Reference:
/S: Deletes a directory tree (the specified directory and all its subdirectories, including all files).
/Q: Specifies quiet mode. Does not prompt for confirmation when deleting a directory tree. (Note that /q works only if /s is specified.)
RD stands for REMOVE Directory.
/S : Delete all files and subfolders in addition to the folder itself. Use this to remove an entire folder tree.
/Q : Quiet - do not display YN confirmation
RD /S /Q C:/folder_path/here
I use Powershell
Remove-Item c:scripts* -recurse
It will remove the contents of the folder, not the folder itself.</div
Use Notepad to create a text document and copy/paste this:
rmdir /s/q "%temp%" mkdir "%temp%"
Select Save As and file name:
Save as type: All files and click the Save button.
It works on any kind of account (administrator or a standard user). Just run it!
I use a temporary variable in this example, but you can use any other! PS: For Windows OS only!</div
To delete file:
To delete folder with all files in it:
rmdir /s /q PATH_TO_FOLDER
To delete all files from specific folder (not deleting folder itself) is a little bit complicated.
del /s *.* cannot delete folders, but removes files from all subfolder. So two commands are needed:
del /q PATH_TO_FOLDER*.* for /d %i in (PATH_TO_FOLDER*.*) do @rmdir /s /q "%i"
You can do it by using the following command to delete all contents and the parent folder itself:
RMDIR [/S] [/Q] [drive:]path
@ECHO OFF rem next line removes all files in temp folder DEL /A /F /Q /S "%temp%*.*" rem next line cleans up the folder's content FOR /D %%p IN ("%temp%*.*") DO RD "%%p" /S /Q
I tried several of these approaches, but none worked properly.
I found this two-step approach on the site Windows Command Line:
forfiles /P %pathtofolder% /M * /C "cmd /c if @isdir==FALSE del @file" forfiles /P %pathtofolder% /M * /C "cmd /c if @isdir==TRUE rmdir /S /Q @file"
It worked exactly as I needed and as specified by the OP.</div
del %pathtofolder%*.* /s /f /q
This deletes all files and subfolders in
%pathtofolder%, including read-only files, and does not prompt for confirmation.