Applies To: Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012, Windows 8

Deletes a directory. This command is the same as the rmdir command.

For examples of how to use this command, see Examples.


rd [<Drive>:]<Path> [/s [/q]]
rmdir [<Drive>:]<Path> [/s [/q]]





Specifies the location and the name of the directory that you want to delete. Path is required.


Deletes a directory tree (the specified directory and all its subdirectories, including all files).


Specifies quiet mode. Does not prompt for confirmation when deleting a directory tree. (Note that /q works only if /s is specified.)


Displays help at the command prompt.


  • You cannot delete a directory that contains files, including hidden or system files. If you attempt to do so, the following message appears:

    The directory is not empty

    Use the dir /a command to list all files (including hidden and system files). Then use the attrib command with -h to remove hidden file attributes, -s to remove system file attributes, or -h -s to remove both hidden and system file attributes. After the hidden and file attributes have been removed, you can delete the files.

  • If you insert a backslash (\) at the beginning of Path, Path will start at the root directory (regardless of the current directory).

  • You cannot use rd to delete the current directory. If you attempt to delete the current directory, the following error message appears:

    The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process.

    If you receive this error message, you must change to a different directory (not a subdirectory of the current directory), and then use rd (specify Path if necessary).

  • The rd command, with different parameters, is available from the Recovery Console.


You cannot delete the directory that you are currently working in. You must change to a directory that is not within the current directory. For example, to change to the parent directory, type:

cd ..

You can now safely remove the desired directory.

Use the /s option to remove a directory tree. For example, to remove a directory named Test (and all its subdirectories and files) from the current directory, type:

rd /s test

To run the previous example in quiet mode, type:

rd /s /q test


When you run rd /s in quiet mode, the entire directory tree is deleted without confirmation. Ensure that important files are moved or backed up before using the /q command-line option.

Additional references

Command-Line Syntax Key