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How to Get Rid of a File or Folder in Windows 8

Sooner or later, you’ll want to delete a file in Windows 8 that’s no longer important — yesterday’s lottery picks, for example, or a particularly embarrassing digital photo. To delete a file or folder, right-click its name or icon. Then choose Delete from the pop-up menu. This surprisingly simple trick works for files, folders, shortcuts, and just about anything else in Windows.

To delete in a hurry, click the offending object and press the Delete key. Dragging and dropping a file or folder to the Recycle Bin does the same thing.

The Delete option deletes entire folders, including any files or folders stuffed inside those folders. Make sure that you select the correct folder before you choose Delete.

  • After you choose Delete, Windows tosses a box in your face, asking whether you’re sure. If you’re sure, click Yes. If you’re tired of Windows’ cautious questioning, right-click the Recycle Bin, choose Properties, and remove the check mark next to Display Delete Confirmation Dialog. Windows now deletes any highlighted items whenever you — or an inadvertent brush of your shirt sleeve — press the Delete key.

  • Be extra sure that you know what you’re doing when deleting any file that has pictures of little gears in its icon. These files are usually sensitive hidden files, and the computer wants you to leave them alone. (Other than that, they’re not particularly exciting, despite the action-oriented gears.)

  • Icons with little arrows in their corner are shortcuts — push buttons that merely load files. Deleting shortcuts deletes only a button that loads a file or program. The file or program itself remains undamaged and still lives inside your computer.

  • As soon as you find out how to delete files, which explains several ways to undelete them. (Hint for the desperate: Open the Recycle Bin, right-click your file’s name, and choose Restore.)

For more information about Windows 8 and its features, explore Windows 8 For Dummies, available online.

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