How to delete (invalid) files with colon in their name under Windows?

When dealing with invalid files with a colon (:) in their name on a Windows machine, it can be quite a challenge. It is not as simple as deleting the file from the Windows Explorer, because Windows does not allow a file to have a colon in its name. The only way to remove such a file is to use either the command line or a third-party utility.

Using the Command Line

The simplest way to delete an invalid file with a colon in its name is to use the command line. In order to do this, open the Command Prompt (or PowerShell) and navigate to the directory where the file is located. Then, use the command “del” followed by the full name of the file. For example, if the file is named “invalid:file.txt”, the command would be “del invalid:file.txt”.

Be aware that the command line will not give you any feedback as to whether the file was successfully deleted or not. If you want to confirm that the file has been deleted, you can use the “dir” command to list the contents of the directory.

Using a Third-Party Utility

If you don’t feel comfortable using the command line, you can use a third-party utility to delete the file. There are several such utilities available, such as Unlocker, Delinvfile, and FileASSASSIN. All of these utilities are free to download and use.

To use one of these utilities, simply download and install it on your computer. Then, open the program and navigate to the directory where the file is located. Right-click on the file and select the “Delete” option. The utility will then remove the file from your computer.


Deleting a file with a colon in its name can be a daunting task, but it is possible. The easiest way to do it is to use the command line, but if that is not an option, you can use a third-party utility. Whichever method you choose, you should now be able to get rid of the invalid file with the colon in its name.

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