Windows command erase command

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Deletes one or more files. If you use erase to delete a file from your disk, you can’t retrieve it.


This command is the same as the del command.


erase [/p] [/f] [/s] [/q] [/a[:]<attributes>] <names>
del [/p] [/f] [/s] [/q] [/a[:]<attributes>] <names>


Parameter Description
<names> Specifies a list of one or more files or directories. Wildcards may be used to delete multiple files. If a directory is specified, all files within the directory will be deleted.
/p Prompts for confirmation before deleting the specified file.
/f Forces deletion of read-only files.
/s Deletes specified files from the current directory and all subdirectories. Displays the names of the files as they are being deleted.
/q Specifies quiet mode. You are not prompted for delete confirmation.
/a[:]<attributes> Deletes files based on the following file attributes:

  • r Read-only files
  • h Hidden files
  • i Not content indexed files
  • s System files
  • a Files ready for archiving
  • l Reparse points
  •  Used as a prefix meaning ‘not’
/? Displays help at the command prompt.


  • If you use the erase /p command, you’ll see the following message:FileName, Delete (Y/N)?

    To confirm the deletion, press Y. To cancel the deletion and to display the next file name (if you specified a group of files), press N. To stop the erase command, press CTRL+C.

  • If you disable command extension, the /s parameter will display the names of any files that weren’t found ,instead of displaying the names of files that are being deleted.
  • If you specify specific folders in the <names> parameter, all of the included files will also be deleted. For example, if you want to delete all of the files in the \work folder, type:
    erase \work
  • You can use wildcards (* and ?) to delete more than one file at a time. However, to avoid deleting files unintentionally, you should use wildcards cautiously. For example, if you type the following command:
    erase *.*

    The erase command displays the following prompt:

    Are you sure (Y/N)?

    To delete all of the files in the current directory, press Y and then press ENTER. To cancel the deletion, press N and then press ENTER.


    Before you use wildcard characters with the erase command, use the same wildcard characters with the dir command to list all the files that will be deleted.


To delete all the files in a folder named Test on drive C, type either of the following:

erase c:\test
erase c:\test\*.*

To delete all files with the .bat file name extension from the current directory, type:

erase *.bat

To delete all read-only files in the current directory, type:

erase /a:r *.*