Windows 11

how to delete windows 11 files

How to Delete Windows 11 Files: A Comprehensive Guide

Windows 11, the latest operating system from Microsoft, offers a range of new features and improvements. However, as with any operating system, you may find yourself needing to delete files for various reasons. Whether you want to free up storage space, remove unnecessary files, or simply organize your system, this guide will walk you through the process of deleting files in Windows 11. From individual files to entire folders, we will cover different methods and provide valuable insights to help you efficiently manage your files.

Understanding File Deletion in Windows 11

Before we delve into the various methods of deleting files in Windows 11, it is important to understand how file deletion works in the operating system. When you delete a file, it is not immediately removed from your computer’s storage. Instead, Windows 11 moves the file to the Recycle Bin, a temporary storage location where deleted files are stored until they are permanently deleted.

The Recycle Bin serves as a safety net, allowing you to restore deleted files if needed. However, it is important to note that files in the Recycle Bin still occupy storage space on your computer. To free up this space, you must empty the Recycle Bin by permanently deleting the files.

Method 1: Deleting Individual Files and Folders

If you want to delete specific files or folders in Windows 11, you can use the File Explorer, the built-in file management tool. Follow these steps to delete individual files and folders:

  1. Open File Explorer by clicking on the folder icon in the taskbar or by pressing the Windows key + E on your keyboard.
  2. Navigate to the location of the file or folder you want to delete.
  3. Right-click on the file or folder and select “Delete” from the context menu. Alternatively, you can select the file or folder and press the Delete key on your keyboard.
  4. A confirmation dialog will appear, asking if you want to move the file or folder to the Recycle Bin. Click “Yes” to proceed.

Once you have deleted the file or folder, it will be moved to the Recycle Bin. To permanently delete the file or folder and free up storage space, you need to empty the Recycle Bin.

Method 2: Emptying the Recycle Bin

As mentioned earlier, files that are deleted in Windows 11 are initially moved to the Recycle Bin. To permanently delete these files and reclaim storage space, you need to empty the Recycle Bin. Follow these steps to empty the Recycle Bin:

  1. Locate the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop. It is usually represented by a trash can.
  2. Right-click on the Recycle Bin icon and select “Empty Recycle Bin” from the context menu.
  3. A confirmation dialog will appear, asking if you want to permanently delete all the files in the Recycle Bin. Click “Yes” to proceed.

Once you have emptied the Recycle Bin, the deleted files will be permanently removed from your computer’s storage, freeing up space for new files.

Method 3: Using Disk Cleanup

If you want to delete unnecessary files and free up storage space on your computer, you can use the Disk Cleanup tool in Windows 11. Disk Cleanup scans your computer for temporary files, system files, and other unnecessary files that can be safely deleted. Follow these steps to use Disk Cleanup:

  1. Open the Start menu by clicking on the Windows icon in the taskbar.
  2. Type “Disk Cleanup” in the search bar and select the “Disk Cleanup” app from the search results.
  3. Select the drive you want to clean up from the drop-down menu. By default, the tool will select the drive where Windows is installed.
  4. Click on the “OK” button to start the scanning process.
  5. Once the scan is complete, Disk Cleanup will display a list of files that can be deleted. Review the list and select the files you want to delete. You can click on the file categories to see a description of each category.
  6. Click on the “OK” button to confirm the deletion of the selected files.
  7. A confirmation dialog will appear, asking if you want to permanently delete the selected files. Click “Delete Files” to proceed.

Disk Cleanup will now delete the selected files, freeing up storage space on your computer. It is recommended to run Disk Cleanup regularly to keep your system optimized and free from unnecessary files.

Method 4: Using Storage Sense

Windows 11 introduces a new feature called Storage Sense, which helps you manage your storage more efficiently. Storage Sense automatically frees up space by deleting temporary files, emptying the Recycle Bin, and removing files that have been in the Recycle Bin for more than 30 days. Follow these steps to enable and use Storage Sense:

  1. Open the Start menu by clicking on the Windows icon in the taskbar.
  2. Type “Settings” in the search bar and select the “Settings” app from the search results.
  3. In the Settings app, click on the “System” category.
  4. Click on the “Storage” tab in the left sidebar.
  5. Toggle the switch under “Storage Sense” to enable it.
  6. Click on the “Configure Storage Sense or run it now” link.
  7. In the Storage Sense settings, you can customize how it frees up space. You can choose to delete temporary files, empty the Recycle Bin, and remove files that have been in the Recycle Bin for more than 30 days.
  8. Click on the “Clean now” button to run Storage Sense immediately and free up space.

Storage Sense will now automatically clean up your storage based on the settings you have configured. It is a convenient way to keep your system clutter-free without manual intervention.

Method 5: Using Third-Party File Management Tools

In addition to the built-in tools provided by Windows 11, there are also third-party file management tools available that offer advanced features for deleting files. These tools often provide additional options for securely deleting files, managing duplicates, and organizing your files more efficiently. Here are a few popular third-party file management tools:

  • CCleaner: CCleaner is a widely used file management tool that offers features for cleaning up temporary files, optimizing system performance, and securely deleting files.
  • Wise Disk Cleaner: Wise Disk Cleaner scans your computer for unnecessary files and allows you to delete them to free up storage space. It also offers advanced options for secure file deletion.
  • Glary Utilities: Glary Utilities is a comprehensive system optimization tool that includes a file management module. It allows you to delete unnecessary files, manage duplicates, and organize your files more efficiently.

When using third-party file management tools, it is important to choose reputable and trusted software to ensure the security and integrity of your files. Always download software from official sources and be cautious of potentially harmful or malicious tools.


Q: Can I recover files deleted from the Recycle Bin?

A: Yes, it is possible to recover files that have been deleted from the Recycle Bin using data recovery software. However, the success of file recovery depends on various factors, such as the length of time since the file was deleted and the extent of disk activity since deletion. It is recommended to act quickly if you accidentally delete important files and use a reputable data recovery tool to increase the chances of successful recovery.

Q: How can I delete files permanently without sending them to the Recycle Bin?

A: By default, Windows 11 moves deleted files to the Recycle Bin. However, you can bypass the Recycle Bin and delete files permanently by holding down the Shift key while pressing the Delete key. This action will permanently delete the selected files without moving them to the Recycle Bin. It is important to note that files deleted in this manner cannot be easily recovered, so exercise caution when using this method.

Q: How can I recover storage space on my computer?

A: To recover storage space on your computer, you can follow these steps:

  1. Delete unnecessary files and folders using the methods described in this guide.
  2. Uninstall unused programs and apps from your computer.
  3. Move files to an external storage device, such as a USB drive or an external hard drive.
  4. Consider using cloud storage services to store files that are not frequently accessed.
  5. Regularly run disk cleanup tools, such as Disk Cleanup or Storage Sense, to remove temporary files and other unnecessary data.

By implementing these steps, you can effectively manage your storage and ensure optimal performance of your computer.


Deleting files in Windows 11 is a straightforward process that can be accomplished using various methods. Whether you want to delete individual files, empty the Recycle Bin, use disk cleanup tools, or leverage third-party file management software, there are multiple options available to suit your needs. By regularly deleting unnecessary files and optimizing your storage, you can free up space, improve system performance, and ensure a clutter-free computing experience. Remember to exercise caution when deleting files, especially when bypassing the Recycle Bin, and always keep backups of important files to prevent data loss.


I am a technology writer specialize in mobile tech and gadgets. I have been covering the mobile industry for over 5 years and have watched the rapid evolution of smartphones and apps. My specialty is smartphone reviews and comparisons. I thoroughly tests each device's hardware, software, camera, battery life, and other key features. I provide in-depth, unbiased reviews to help readers determine which mobile gadgets best fit their needs and budgets.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button