del (command)

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In computing, del (or erase) is a command in all DOS, OS/2 and Microsoft Windows command line interpreters (shells) such as COMMAND.COM, cmd.exe, 4DOS, NDOS, 4OS2, 4NT and Windows PowerShell. It is used to delete one or more files or directories from a filesystem. It is analogous to the Unix rm command. RT-11, RSX-11 and OpenVMS also provide the delete command which can be contracted to del.

In Windows PowerShell, del and erase are a predefined command aliases for the Remove-Item cmdlet which basically serves the same purpose.

While DR-DOS supports del and erase as well, it also supports the shorthand form era, which derived from CP/M. In addition to this, the DR-DOS command processor also supports delq/eraq. These are shorthand forms for the del/era/erase command with an assumed /Q parameter (for 'Query') given as well.

The del command can be extremely dangerous, as it removes files in an unabridged way. The command can be used to bypass Windows Resource Protection's policies, and the only restriction of file deletion is ownership. Because of this, this makes the del command malware if used to delete critical system files such as C:\windows\system32.[1]


del filename
erase filename

See also[edit]


  1. ^, retrieved 2015-07-20  Missing or empty |title= (help)