The hard disk of our computer accumulates hundreds of files and folders that we do not need, that occupy a very precious space in our storage and that we would like to eliminate quickly. For this, Windows offers different possibilities, although we can also use external applications.
As in real life, on our computer we can also develop a kind of digital Diogenes syndrome and accumulate garbage in an uncontrolled way. Even if we are not one of those who like to accumulate files and folders and not delete anything at all, it is easy that we are forced to do some cleaning.
Either because we have everything organized and that we can find the document we are looking for more quickly, or because we need more available storage space on our hard drive, it is interesting to know how to do a massive cleaning of elements in Windows.
Although we usually resort to third-party applications to perform many tasks in Windows because it does not allow us to do them efficiently, in this case, for the massive deletion of documents, the tools that Microsoft put at our disposal are worthwhile .
From File Explorer
Windows File Explorer allows us to perform many basic tasks in managing the elements of our internal hard drive or external storage units such as USB pen drives, external SSD drives or external hard drives.
When we have on screen the folders or documents that we want to massively delete, we have several tools that will allow us to do this quickly and in a few steps.
- When we want to delete all folders or files:
What we have to do, first, is select all the elements . We can do this in three different ways: by clicking on the Select All button on the ribbon at the top of the window; press CTRL on the keyboard . + A at the same time; or select the first item, press the SHIFT key. + click on the last item.
Once we have all the elements selected, to delete them we have three other options, almost equivalent to the selection ones: we can press the Delete button on the ribbon at the top; press the DELETE key . On the keyboard; or open the secondary menu with the right mouse button and click on Delete.
Remember that all those documents will go directly to the Recycle Bin , so we have to empty it if we want to permanently get rid of everything that was deleted.
- When we want to massively delete, but selecting the content:
You may want to delete many documents, but not all. That is, when making a selection of all the elements of a unit or directory is not the viable option, we have to manually select everything we want to delete. For this it is not necessary to go folder by folder or file by file.
Windows allows you to pick and select items with just a few mouse clicks. To activate manual selection we just have to hold down the CTRL key . keyboard. From here we can select elements by clicking on them. If they are contiguous elements, we can click with the mouse on an empty space and select, by dragging, all the elements in that area. You can make multiple selections, but always without releasing the CTRL key.
Once the selection is made, we will press the Delete button on the ribbon, the DELETE key . or we will use the Delete command from the right button.
Commands in the Command Prompt
It is not that it is too complicated to use the Command Prompt systems, which reminds us of the old MS-DOS to the most veteran, but it is an interface that we may not be used to. To access the Command Prompt, we will search for it in the search box on the taskbar or press Win. + R and we will write CMD, then we press Enter and we are inside.
We will use the DEL command to delete files or directories in one go. We will use these commands:
- from C: XXXX
Where XXXX is the path where all the documents you want to delete are stored.
- del C: XXXX / +. gif
In this case we will delete all the elements with the indicated extension (GIF or any other) within the indicated path.
- del / f C: XXXX
This will force the deletion of read-only files .
- del / s C: XXXX
The / s command also deletes all subdirectories.
- RD / s XXXX
We will use the RD command (remove directory, delete directory) to delete the folder in which we are. To do this we must first enter by executing the command cd XXXX (where XXXX is the name of the folder), once in the path we write the command to delete the directory and all its subfolders (with the / s parameter).
Create a bat (or batch) file is a simple text document that includes several commands to be executed directly. We may relate it to programming or creating code but it is actually very simple. We just have to open WordPad, Windows’ simple text editor. We write the commands that we want to execute automatically, for example:
cd C: Invoices
rd / s C: Invoices
In this way we would be entering the Invoices folder on the hard disk and then deleting it along with all the subdirectories. Once the commands have been written, click on Save as … and give it a descriptive name that ends in .bat (the extension to make it an executable document). In this way, every time we double-click on it, those commands will be executed.
This application runs in the Command Prompt, but it allows us to do a mass deletion of files or folders more easily. We download the application and save it in the root directory so that we only have to execute the byenow command when opening the Command Prompt.
We will write byenow XXXX -p -s -l -e -y . The command byenow XXXX (where XXXX is the folder we want to delete) is enough to delete the directory we want with all its content.
However, we can add other parameters such as those indicated: -p generates a preview of what we are going to delete, -s shows us the content and then deletes it, -l allows us to see the progress of the deletion, -e is the record error, -y causes no confirmation for bulk delete.
With external applications
Although Windows allows you to easily delete files and folders in bulk, there are also other applications that add new functionalities to this process that may be of interest to us.
As its name indicates ( Wipe File is file cleaning in English) this application allows us to delete the documents we choose, as Windows does, but with the addition that Wipe File completely cleans the information trail in a safe.
Once the selected folders and files are deleted, it overwrites the information in different ways (14 different methods are available) so that no one can recover those documents . It is available for Windows and is free.
This tool is similar to the previous one. Active KillDisk is designed to permanently delete all information without the possibility of recovering it with specific programs. You can do it on entire drives like internal hard drives or external storage drives like USB drives, memory cards or external SSD drives.
You can discard the application for free (as long as it is for personal, non-professional use) directly from the web and it is available only for Windows. In addition, to guarantee that the information has been permanently erased, it issues various types of digital security certificates.
TeraCopy is a tool that is characterized by copying and moving large amounts of information very quickly. In addition to this, the mass erasure tool is very useful , since it takes advantage of the same technology and causes the information to be eliminated quickly.
This program is capable of harnessing the full potential of your computer to concentrate it and achieve a massive deletion in much less time than any of the native options of the Microsoft operating system can do. It is a free application , only available for Windows and that also offers these functionalities for external drives such as USB sticks or memory cards.