How to Delete the Contents of a Directory in One Step

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Article ID: 32497 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q32497
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If you try to delete the entire contents of a directory, MS-DOS prompts you to verify the operation. While this helps protect you against inadvertently erasing a large number of files, it also forces you to go through two steps to perform a single operation. The experienced MS-DOS user can place the following command in a batch file in order to make available the option of deleting the contents of directory in one step:
echo y | del %1\*.*
If the above line is placed in a batch file called, for example, DELALL.BAT, you can then tell MS-DOS to delete all the files in the current working directory by invoking the batch file as follows:
delall .
NOTE: This example may want to include more error checking, since invoking this batch file and forgetting to provide the %1 argument would delete all of the files in the root directory.

If you are using MS-DOS 6 or later, you can simply use the DELTREE program. For more information on DELTREE, type help deltree at the MS-DOS 6.x command prompt and then press ENTER.


Article ID: 32497 - Last Review: November 16, 2006 - Revision: 2.1
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 2.11 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 3.1
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 3.2 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 3.21 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 3.3 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 3.3a
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 5.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 5.0a
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 6.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 6.2 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 6.21 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 6.22 Standard Edition
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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