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Conquering the The Directory Cannot Be Removed Error: Practical Solutions

Are you encountering the dreaded “The directory cannot be removed” error? Whether you’re a seasoned computer user or a newbie, this error can be frustrating and confusing.

Fear not, for in this article, we will demystify this error and provide you with practical solutions to fix it. Let’s dive in and conquer this challenge together!

Error code and description

The first step in solving any problem is understanding its nature. When you come across the “The directory cannot be removed” error, you may encounter error code 16 (0x10) or come across the term ERROR_CURRENT_DIRECTORY.

This error signifies that you are unable to delete a specific directory from your system.

Reasons for the error

Several reasons could be behind this error. It could be that the directory you’re trying to remove does not exist, or you may have misspelled the directory name.

Another common cause is when the directory contains files or subdirectories. Sometimes, a directory may have the same name as a reserved device name, causing conflicts.

Additionally, files or subdirectories within the directory might have higher permissions, making their deletion challenging. Lastly, files within the directory could still be in use, preventing its removal.

Now that we have a better understanding of the problem, let’s explore some solutions to fix it.

Correcting the directory name

One common reason for the error is misspelling the directory name. Double-check the spelling of the directory you’re trying to remove.

Ensure that you are using the correct case and any spaces or special characters are included or omitted as needed. If the directory name contains extended characters, try renaming it to use simpler directory names.

This can eliminate any potential conflicts and make it easier to delete the directory.

Emptying the directory

If the directory contains files or subdirectories, you’ll need to remove them before deleting the directory itself. Navigate to the directory and delete all the files and subdirectories within it.

This step ensures that the directory is empty and ready for deletion.

Using the chdir command

If you’re encountering difficulties deleting a directory because of the current directory you’re in, using the chdir command can help. The chdir or “change directory” command allows you to change your current directory to a different one.

Navigate to a directory other than the one you’re trying to remove using the chdir command. This will allow you to delete the problematic directory without any hindrance.

Using the rmdir command

The rmdir or “remove directory” command is specifically designed to delete directories. Execute the rmdir command followed by the path or name of the directory you wish to delete.

It’s important to note that the rmdir command can only remove empty directories. If the directory contains any files or subdirectories, it will not be deleted.

In such cases, you need to follow the previous step and empty the directory before using the rmdir command.

Removing the device with the directory name

In some cases, a directory may have the same name as a reserved device name. This can result in conflicts and prevent the removal of the directory.

To fix this, you’ll need to remove or rename the device with the conflicting name. By doing so, you eliminate the conflict and regain the ability to remove the problematic directory.

Repairing the registry

The Windows registry is a critical component of the operating system. If it becomes corrupted, it can cause various errors, including the “The directory cannot be removed” error.

To repair the registry, you can use the sfc /scannow command, which stands for System File Checker. This command scans the integrity of all protected system files and replaces any corrupted or modified files with a cached copy stored in a compressed folder.

Running a full system scan

Malware infections can wreak havoc on your system and lead to various errors, including the one we are addressing.

Running a full system scan with a reputable antivirus or antimalware software, such as Windows Defender, can help detect and eliminate any malicious files that may be causing the error.

Ensure that your antivirus software is up to date to maximize its effectiveness.

Checking disk for errors

Disk errors can also contribute to the “The directory cannot be removed” error. The chkdsk command, short for Check Disk, can help identify and fix any errors on your disk.

Launch the command prompt as an administrator and enter the chkdsk command followed by the drive letter of the disk you wish to check. This command will scan the disk and repair any found errors, potentially resolving the issue.

Checking permissions on the drive

Sometimes, insufficient permissions on the drive can prevent you from deleting directories. To check and modify permissions, right-click on the drive containing the directory you want to remove and select “Properties.” Navigate to the “Security” tab and ensure that you have full control over the drive.

If necessary, modify the permissions to allow full control, which should grant you the ability to delete the problematic directory.

Booting into Safe Mode

If all else fails, booting into Safe Mode can provide a different environment in which you can troubleshoot and delete the problematic directory. Restart your computer and, when the Windows logo appears, press and hold the F8 key until the Advanced Boot Options menu appears.

Select “Safe Mode” and log in to your account. Once in Safe Mode, attempt to delete the directory again.

Sometimes, certain drivers or services that may hinder deletion are disabled in Safe Mode, allowing you to overcome the error.

Using another OS

If you have a dual-boot system or have access to another operating system, such as a Linux distribution, you can boot into the alternate OS and delete the troublesome directory from there. This approach bypasses any conflicts or limitations of the current operating system and gives you a fresh environment to resolve the issue.


In this article, we have explored the notorious “The directory cannot be removed” error and provided you with various solutions to fix it. Remember, this error can have several causes, such as misspelled directory names, existing files or subdirectories, conflicts with reserved device names, and more.

By following the methods outlined in this article, you can overcome this error and regain control over your system. So, roll up your sleeves and let’s bid adieu to this frustrating error once and for all!

Additional troubleshooting steps

While the solutions presented in the previous sections should resolve the “The directory cannot be removed” error in most cases, there are a few additional troubleshooting steps you can try if you’re still facing difficulties. These workarounds can provide alternative methods to resolve the issue.

One option is to use a file manager or third-party software specifically designed to manage files and directories. These tools often have advanced features that can help you tackle stubborn directories that resist deletion.

They might provide alternative methods to remove directories or assist in identifying any underlying issues that are causing the error. Additionally, you can try running the Windows Disk Cleanup utility.

This tool helps free up disk space by removing unnecessary files, including temporary files and system files. It can also identify and delete files or directories that are causing issues.

Running this utility might help you get rid of the problematic directory that refuses to be removed through other methods. In some cases, the error might be caused by file or folder corruption.

To address this, you can try using the Windows System File Checker tool. This tool scans your system for corrupt or modified system files and repairs them using cached copies.

Launch the command prompt as an administrator and enter the sfc /scannow command. Allow the tool to complete its scan and repair process, and then attempt to delete the directory again.

Driver updater tool recommendation

It’s worth noting that some instances of the “The directory cannot be removed” error may be related to issues with device drivers on your system. Outdated or incorrect drivers can sometimes cause conflicts that prevent the deletion of certain directories.

To ensure your drivers are up to date and free from errors, using a reputable driver updater tool can be beneficial. One such tool is OutByte Driver Updater.

This software scans your system for outdated or faulty drivers and provides a hassle-free way to update them. It automatically detects and downloads the latest drivers from the respective manufacturer’s websites, ensuring that you have the most stable and compatible versions installed on your system.

OutByte Driver Updater also safeguards your PC by creating backups of your current drivers, allowing you to restore them if anything goes wrong during the update process. With its user-friendly interface and automated scanning and updating features, this tool saves you time and effort while ensuring your system remains optimized and error-free.

In addition to resolving driver-related issues, OutByte Driver Updater can help address various other PC performance issues. It can enhance system stability, reduce crashes, and improve overall system responsiveness.

By regularly updating your drivers, you can not only resolve issues related to the “The directory cannot be removed” error but also enhance the performance and reliability of your entire system.


In conclusion, the “The directory cannot be removed” error can be a frustrating obstacle to overcome. However, armed with the knowledge and solutions provided in this article, you now have a variety of strategies to tackle this issue effectively.

Begin by double-checking the directory name and ensuring it is spelled correctly. If the directory contains files or subdirectories, take the necessary steps to empty it before attempting to delete it.

Utilize commands like chdir and rmdir, and consider removing or renaming conflicting devices with the same name as the directory. It’s also worth investigating potential issues with your registry, running a full system scan, checking for disk errors, and verifying permissions on the drive.

Moreover, if you encounter persistent difficulties or suspect driver-related problems, employing additional troubleshooting steps or using a driver updater tool like OutByte Driver Updater can provide further assistance in resolving the error and optimizing your system performance. With the comprehensive solutions and recommendations provided in this article, you can now confidently navigate the challenges posed by the “The directory cannot be removed” error.

Take charge of your system, implement the appropriate measures, and bid adieu to this vexing error once and for all. Your computer will thank you!

In conclusion, the “The directory cannot be removed” error can be a frustrating hurdle.

However, armed with the strategies outlined in this article, you now have a range of solutions to overcome it. From double-checking directory names to emptying directories and utilizing commands like chdir and rmdir, these steps can help resolve the issue.

Additionally, exploring registry repairs, running system scans, checking for disk errors, and verifying permissions are worthwhile troubleshooting steps. Consider using a driver updater tool like OutByte Driver Updater to address driver-related problems.

By taking control of this error, you can optimize your system’s performance and ensure smoother operations. Remember, persistence and the right tools are key to conquering the “The directory cannot be removed” error.

Your efficient system awaits you!

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