Is there a fast way to delete a large number of files or folders without using a batch file or using command prompt?

Ben M July 28, 2013

I was working on a slower (Windows XP) computer yesterday, and had to delete a bunch of files before selling it. The customer was on their way, but it was taking forever to delete. I researched it quickly, but found the only quick ways were to use command line, or batch files.

Is there an easier way?

  1. Paul P
    July 29, 2013 at 2:21 am

    I would wipe the disk with Secure Erase and then reinstall Windows:

    Apparently all drives made after 2001 have SecureErase built into them and it just need to be activated.

    It overwrites the data quickly even the hidden and set aside sectors. Apparently also the idea of overwriting the data 30 times was a lot of baloney because you need an electron microscope to recover side track data after one pass overwrite and that side track data is virtually useless even with the ridiculously expensive lab equipment.

  2. Oron J
    July 28, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Let's take this in two parts. Firstly, Shift-Delete is usually a lot faster than a normal delete. It bypasses the recycle bin, so deletes files permanently, but if you're happy with that then this addresses the issue of speed.
    The other issue, which you don't mention, is whether the data to be delete is in a a small number of folders (each containing many files and folders, of course), or a large, discontinuous group of folders, where selecting the items is in itself a slow process. If it is the latter, remember you can select a range of items by dragging around them in Windows Explorer, select a contiguous group by clicking on the first item and Shift-clicking on the last, and adding or removing individual item by Ctrl-clicking on them.

  3. Susendeep D
    July 28, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    You can use Eraser software to completely remove the sensitive files from your HDD.It's free to use.

  4. Hovsep A
    July 28, 2013 at 8:23 am

    maybe you can use unlocker to delete folders perhaps in batch

  5. Bruce E
    July 28, 2013 at 7:36 am

    It depends entirely on the situation, but you can still use Windows Exploerer to delete a large amount of files and folders as well. If they are scattered all over the hard drive it becomes more difficult, but it can still be done if you can craft a search command to pull up all (or most) of them as one result set. Once you have your results, just select the whole batch of files, right-click on the selection, and in this case, hold down the Shift key while clicking on Delete from the context menu (delete instead of moving to Recycle Bin).

    Another quicker way to remove user data from a system is to simply create a new administrative user, log out of the old administrative account and log in using the new user. From here, delete all other old user accounts on the system. Once the accounts are deleted, make sure that the profile directories under Documents & Settings (for XP) are deleted. If not, manually delete them now. NOTE: This will only get rid of user data files that were stored within their profile directories. If the user saved files in other locations, you will still have to delete those via another means.

    As this is being passed on to someone else, you should run CCleaner to further clean up the junk files on the system. Then, follow up with Eraser to wipe all free space on the drive (render the old profile files and junk files unrecoverable).