Directory is not empty 0x80070091

Guide: Resolving Error 0x80070091 – The Directory Is Not Empty

If you get Error 0x80070091 The directory is not empty when deleting a folder, here’s what you need to do. You might be able to fix this problem by renaming the folder. If you can’t rename, these suggestions might help.

According to Google research, a lot of computer users get the error “the directory isn’t empty”. No worries, this article will give you 5 solutions to fix “cannot remove item because directory is not empty”.

What does error 0x80070091 mean?

This usually happens when you try to delete a folder from an external hard drive, SD card, or pen drive. However, it can also happen when you delete a file from the system drive.

Error 0x80070091 The directory isn’t empty. How do you fix it?

Make sure you restart your computer before you start. You might need to troubleshoot the issue further if you still get this error. Fixes and suggestions for error 0x80070091 The directory is not empty:

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1. Use the Command Prompt to erase the folder

You can delete folders in Windows 11/10 using the Command Prompt. So, you might be able to delete an affected folder with Command Prompt. You can use the Command Prompt to delete the folder, but it’s a workaround.

Make sure you have elevated (administrative) rights when you run Command Prompt. There are lots of ways to launch Command Prompt as an administrator in our guide. You can then delete an affected folder by typing this command:

rmdir /s "folder path"

In that command, you’ll need to replace the folder path with the location of the directory you want to delete. Here’s an example of how the location should look:

rmdir /s 
Use the Command Prompt to erase the folder

2. Scan PC with antivirus

Install a reliable antivirus if you’ve recently installed third-party software that’s causing these errors.

3. Rename the Folder

It’s easiest to rename the folder. Here’s how to do it:

  • You’ll need to add a hyphen or exclamation point at the end of the file or folder you want to delete, like office docs!
  • You can try deleting or copying it.

Here’s what to do if you’re still getting “Error 0x80070091: The directory is not empty” when deleting a file or folder.

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4. Restart Windows File Explorer

If you’re having problems with File Explorer, restart it. It doesn’t restart the file manager when you close and reopen the Explorer window. The Explorer process needs to be restarted via Task Manager like this:

  • Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  • Choose File Explorer from the Processes tab.
  • Click Restart for the Explorer process you want to restart.

5. Scan System Files With an SFC Scan

There are some corrupted system files that can cause error 0x80070091. By running an SFC scan, you might fix error 0x80070091 and fix corrupted files.

Scan System Files With an SFC Scan

6. Check for Errors With a Disk Scan

There’s a good chance that the 0x80070091 error is caused by corrupted or bad hard drive sectors. Some users have reported fixing bad drive sectors with the Check Disk (CHKDSK) utility.

Here’s how Check Disk checks for and fixes bad sectors:

  1. Run Command Prompt with administrative rights.
  2. Enter this Check Disk command:
chkdsk /f /r C: 
  • To schedule a restart, press Y.
Check for Errors With a Disk Scan
  • To reboot, click Start > Power > Restart.

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Final thoughts:

In conclusion, the error 0x80070091, “The directory is not empty,” can be a frustrating issue on Windows 11/10. However, with the solutions outlined in this article, you should be able to effectively fix the problem and regain access to your files and folders. Whether it’s through using File Explorer, the Command Prompt, or third-party software, there’s a solution for every type of user. Just remember to always back up your important data before attempting any fixes to prevent any data loss.

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