# How can I delete all files/subfolders in a given folder via the command prompt?

I would like to delete all files and subfolders in a batch file in Windows 7 and keep the top folder. Basically emptying the folder. What's the command line instruction for that?

• Not to nitpick, but you're looking for how do do this "from the command prompt" not from "DOS." There hasn't been a DOS subsystem since Win ME. – MDMarra Aug 9 '10 at 18:53
• @MarkM: Well, there is/was ntvdm but as 64-bit systems gain market share it's getting increasingly irrelevant. – Joey Aug 10 '10 at 9:06
• – Vadzim Jan 31 '14 at 19:27

You can do this using del and the /S flag (to tell it to remove all files from all subdirectories):

del /S C:\Path\to\directory\*

• Explanation: del stands for Delete and S stands for Recursive. – Tamara Wijsman Aug 9 '10 at 16:50
• @Tony_Henrich, Learn more about msdos commands here. computerhope.com/msdos.htm – Moab Aug 9 '10 at 18:21
• and using /Q keeps empty sub folders which is undesirable. – Tony_Henrich Aug 9 '10 at 20:27
• This is the wrong answer and I don't know why it received many up votes. It seems people didn't understand the question fully and don't read comments! I will go through the answers and select the correct one. – Tony_Henrich Dec 4 '16 at 5:44
• But it leaves the Subfolders how do you also tell it to delete the sub folder itself ? – eran otzer Feb 7 '18 at 10:19

The best Solution: e.g. i want to delete all files and sub-directories of parent directory lets say "C:\Users\Desktop\New folder\". The easy way is create batch file of below three commands.

cd C:\Users\Desktop\New folder\

del * /S /Q

rmdir /S /Q "C:\Users\Desktop\New folder\"

Here first it will clean all files in all sub-directories and then cleans all empty sub-directories. Since current working directory is parent directory i.e."\New folder", rmdir command can't delete this directory itself.

• Works very well, except for a warning when the system cannot delete the root folder. – Jerther Aug 25 '16 at 18:44
• Not good. Hard coded paths and by looking at it, it doesn't empty the folder. It removes it. Very dangerous also. It deletes files at the current folder if the path doesn't exit or mispelled. – Tony_Henrich Dec 4 '16 at 5:51
• As @Tony_Henrich said the rmdir command will delete New folder – Navigatron Apr 6 '17 at 21:18
• No. This actually works at completely clearing the "New folder" without deleting the folder itself. The only issue is that it gives a minor warning when the OS fails to delete the parent folder. Also, the del command is redundant unless you have a large folder, in which case it might be faster. You could just modify it as such (Sorry about the lack of line breaks in comments): set FOLDER="%userprofile%\Desktop\New folder" cd %FOLDER% rmdir /S /Q %FOLDER%\ >nul 2>&1 – HSuke Nov 16 '17 at 18:58
• Real dangerous. If somebody goes ahead and removes/renames C:\Users\Desktop\New folder, the very first line with CD fails and your batch file happily deletes everything in the current (default) directory. Which could very well end up being your working directory or C:\Windows\System32 – Ishmaeel Jan 12 '18 at 10:18

Navigate to the parent directory:

pushd "Parent Directory"


Delete the sub folders:

rd /s /q . 2>nul

• Wow, that's hackish. :) – Tarnay Kálmán Jul 3 '14 at 13:08
• This is essentially equivalent to two previous answers. – Scott Jul 3 '14 at 13:27
• Agreed with above - this is a copy of previous answers, replaced with commands synonymous to those they're replacing. pushd doesn't add anything here that cd isn't already doing. – Prometheus Apr 5 '18 at 5:56
• this is the only one i was able to use so far that worked exactly for what the asker was asking, all the other ones just delete all the files. Of course rmdir /s path-to-folder will delete the folder with all the stuff in it, but the asker wanted to know how to delete everything in working directory. – Katz_Katz_Katz Jun 14 '18 at 9:53
• This answer worked best for me. With all the other answers it didn't delete non-empty directories when using /Q and it always asked for confirmation when not using /Q. – marijnr Oct 29 '18 at 10:31

you can use rmdir to delete the files and subfolder, like this:

rmdir /s/q MyFolderPath


However, it is significantly faster, especially when you have a lot of subfolders in your structure to use del before the rmdir, like this:

del /f/s/q MyFolderPath > nul
rmdir /s/q MyFolderPath

• First option gives an error "the directory is not empty". The first command in the second option, deletes the whole folder. It doesn't keep it like I wanted. The second command is not needed if the first command deleted the whole folder. – Tony_Henrich Dec 4 '16 at 6:02
• The rmdir command (both are the same) will delete the parent folder. This is not an answer to the question. Why don't people read? – Prometheus Oct 2 '19 at 23:00
rmdir "c:\pathofyourdirectory" /q /s


Don't forget to use the quotes and for the /q /s it will delete all the repositories and without prompting.

• The question was "I would like to delete all files and subfolders in a batch file in Windows 7 and keep the top folder." – Werner Henze Feb 5 '14 at 17:06

If you want to delete all files in a folder, including all subfolders and not rely on some error conditions to keep the root folder intact (like I saw in another answer) you could have a batch file like this:

@echo off

REM Checking for command line parameter
if "%~1"=="" (

echo Parameter required.
exit /b 1

) else (

REM Change directory and keep track of the previous one
pushd "%~1"

if errorlevel 1 (

REM The directory passed from command line is not valid, stop here.
exit /b %errorlevel%

) else (

REM First we delete all files, including the ones in the subdirs, without confirmation
del * /S /Q

REM Then we delete all the empty subdirs that were left behind
for /f %%D IN ('dir /b /s /a:d "%~1"') DO rmdir /S /Q "%%D"

REM Change directory back to the previous one
popd

REM All good.
exit /b 0
)

)


And then you would simply call it with:

empty_my_folder.bat "C:\whatever\is\my folder"


You can do it quickly and easily by putting these three instructions in your bat file:

mkdir empty_folder
robocopy /mir empty_folder "path_to_directory"
rmdir empty_folder

• This is immensely useful since it also removes any hidden or system files. – weaknespase Apr 4 '17 at 18:16

This worked better for me when I had spaces in the folder names.

@echo off
REM ---- Batch file to clean out a folder
REM Checking for command line parameter
if "%~1"=="" (

echo Parameter required.
exit /b 1

) else (
echo ***********************************************************************************
echo *** Deleting all files, including the ones in the subdirs, without confirmation ***
del "%~1\*" /S /Q
echo ***********************************************************************************
REM Deleting all the empty subdirs that were left behind
FOR /R "%~1" %%D IN (.) DO (
if "%%D"=="%~1\."  (
echo *** Cleaning out folder: %~1 ***
) else (
echo Removed folder "%%D"
rmdir /S /Q "%%D"
)
)

REM All good.
exit /b 0

)

• People always forget about having spaces in the names. – Kevin Panko Feb 13 '14 at 18:48

To delete file:

del PATH_TO_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 create a script to delete whatever you want (folder or file) like this mydel.bat:

@echo off
setlocal enableextensions

if "%~1"=="" (
echo Usage: %0 path
exit /b 1
)

:: check whether it is folder or file
set ISDIR=0
set ATTR=%~a1
set DIRATTR=%ATTR:~0,1%
if /i "%DIRATTR%"=="d" set ISDIR=1

:: Delete folder or file
if %ISDIR%==1 (rmdir /s /q "%~1") else (del "%~1")
exit /b %ERRORLEVEL%


Few example of usage:

mydel.bat "path\to\folder with spaces"
mydel.bat path\to\file_or_folder


user340956 was painfully close to the solution, but you know what they say about close…

To be clear, rd /s /q c:\foobar deletes the target directory in addition to its contents, but you don't always want to delete the directory itself, sometimes you just want to delete its contents and leave the directory alone. The deltree command could do this, but Micrsoft, in its infinite "wisdom" removed the command and didn't port it to Windows.

Here's a solution that works without resorting to third-party tools. It's probably about as simple and efficient as is possible with a command-line script instead of outright writing an actual executable. It doesn't set any environment variables and it doesn't use any loops. It's also as safe as can be, with error-checking everywhere possible, and also as user-friendly as possible, with built-in docs.

dt.bat (or dt.cmd for the kids; whatever, I'm old, I use .bat 🤷):

:: dt is a Windows-compatible version of the deltree command
:: Posted to SuperUser by Synetech: https://superuser.com/a/1526232/3279

@echo off
goto start

:start
if ["%~1"]==[""] goto usage
pushd "%~1" 2>nul
if /i not ["%cd%"]==["%~1"] goto wrongdir
rd /s /q "%~1" 2>nul
popd
goto :eof

:usage
echo   Delete all of the contents of a directory
echo.
echo   ^> %0 DIR
echo.
echo   %0 is a substitute for deltree, it recursively deletes the contents
echo   (files and folders) of a directory, but not the directory itself
echo.
echo   DIR is the directory whose contents are to be deleted
goto :eof

:wrongdir
echo Could not change to the target directory. Invalid directory? Access denied?
goto :eof


Here's how it works:

1. It checks if a command-line argument has been passed, and prints usage information and quits if not.
2. It uses pushd to save the current directory, then switch to the target directory, redirecting any errors to nul for a cleaner command-line experience (and cleaner logs).
3. It checks to see if the current directory is now the same as the target directory, and prints an error message and quits if it is not. This avoids accidentally deleting the contents of the previous directory if the pushd command failed (e.g., passing an invalid directory, access-error, etc.)
• This check is case-insensitive, so it's usually safe on Windows, but isn't for any case-sensitive file-systems like those used by *nix systems, even under Windows.
• It doesn't work with short-filenames (e.g. C:\Users\Bob Bobson\foobar won't be seen as being the same as C:\Users\BobBob~1\foobar even if they actually are). It's a slight inconvenience to have to use the non-short filename, but it's better safe than sorry, especially since SFNs aren't completely reliable or always predictable (and may even be disabled altogether).
4. It then uses rd to delete the target directory and all of its contents, redirecting any errors (which there should be at least one for the directory itself) to nul. Some notes about this:
• Because the target directory is the current directory, the system has an open file-handle to it, and thus it cannot actually delete it, so it remains as is, which is the desired behavior.
• Because it doesn't try to remove the target directory until after its contents have been removed, it should now be empty (other than anything that also has open file handles).
5. Finally, it uses popd to return to the previously-current directory and ends the script.

(If you like, you can comment the script with the above descriptions using rem or ::.)

## If you wanted to empty the folder, my take is:

@ECHO OFF

:choice
cls
set /P c=Which directory? [Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Pictures]
if /I "%c%" EQU "Desktop" set Point = "Desktop"
if /I "%c%" EQU "Documents" set Point = "Documents"
if /I "%c%" EQU "Pictures" set Point = "Pictures"
if /I "%c%" EQU "Videos" set Point = "Videos"
goto choice
set /P d=Which subdirectory? If you are putting multiple. Your's should be like "path/to/folder" (no files!!)

IF NOT EXIST C:\Users\%USERNAME%\%Point%\%d% GOTO NOWINDIR
:NOWINDIR


## Simple as that! I hope I helped you out! I recommend you to take the whole code, if you don't want to take the whole code, then you can simplify this with.

IF NOT EXIST *path here* GOTO NOWINDIR
rmdir *path here*
mkdir *path here*
:NOWINDIR
mkdir *path here*


EDIT: rmdir won't work if it isn't empty. To fix that.

IF NOT EXIST *path here* GOTO NOWINDIR
del *path here*/* /S /Q (dont copy this, the above prevents the del command from deleting everything in the folder, this is simallar to another answer.)
rmdir *path here*
mkdir *path here*
:NOWINDIR
mkdir *path here*


Not sure if this works but...

sdelete -s -p *path here*/*


This is what worked for me.

1. Navigate inside the folder where you want to delete the files.
2. Type: del *
3. Y for yes.
4. Done

Example: Delete everything (folders/subfolders/files) in 3D Objects folder but want to leave 3D Objects folder alone

pathThere="C:\Users\PhilosophyPoet\3D Objects" CD pathThere RMDIR /s /q pathThere

When CMD is oriented to working directory, using RMDIR will delete all folders, subfolders and files from the working directory. Seems like CMD process cannot process itself just like 'I can't throw myself into rubbish bin because the rubbish bin need to be seal by someone'