Del (erase)

Deletes specified files.


del [Drive:][Path] FileName [ ...] [/p] [/f] [/s] [/q] [/a[:attributes]]

erase [Drive:][Path] FileName [ ...] [/p] [/f] [/s] [/q] [/a[:attributes]]


[Drive:][Path] FileName : Specifies the location and name of the file or set of files you want to delete. Filename is required. You can use multiple file names. Separate file names with spaces, commas, or semicolons.

/p : Prompts you for confirmation before deleting the specified file.

/f : Forces deletion of read-only files.

/s : Deletes specified files from the current directory and all subdirectories. Displays the names of the files as they are being deleted.

/q : Specifies quiet mode. You are not prompted for delete confirmation.

/a : Deletes files based on specified attributes.

attributes : Specifies any of the following file attributes:











Prefix meaning "not"

/? : Displays help at the command prompt.


Using /p 

If you use /p, del displays the name of a file and sends the following message:

filename, Delete (Y/N)?

Press Y to confirm the deletion, N to cancel the deletion and display the next file name (if you specified a group of files), or CTRL+C to stop the del command.

Disabling command extensions

If you disable command extensions, the /s command-line option displays the names of any files that were not found, instead of displaying the names of files that are being deleted (that is, the behavior is reversed). For more information about disabling command extensions, see cmd in Related Topics.

Deleting more than one file at a time

You can delete all of the files in a folder by typing del followed by [Drive:]Path. For example, the following command deletes all files in the \Work folder:

del \work

You can also use wildcards (that is, * and ?) to delete more than one file at a time. However, you should use wildcards cautiously with the del command to avoid deleting files unintentionally. For example, if you type the following command:

del *.*

The del command displays the following prompt:

All files in directory will be deleted! Are you sure (Y/N)?

Press Y and then ENTER to delete all files in the current folder, or press N and then ENTER to cancel the deletion.

Before you use wildcards with the del command to delete a group of files, you can use the same wildcards with the dir command to see a list of the names of all the files included in the group.


After you delete a file from your disk using del, you cannot retrieve it.

The del command, with different parameters, is available from the Recovery Console.


To delete all the files in a folder named Test on drive C:\, type any of the following:

del c:\test

del c:\test\*.*

Formatting legend



Information that the user must supply


Elements that the user must type exactly as shown

Ellipsis (...)

Parameter that can be repeated several times in a command line

Between brackets ([])

Optional items

Between braces ({}); choices separated by pipe (|). Example: {even|odd}

Set of choices from which the user must choose only one

Courier font

Code or program output


Rmdir (rd)


Command-line reference A-Z

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