How to Fix the “Directory is Not Empty” Error 0x80070091 in Windows 10 & 11


Get this strange error message fixed with these tips for Windows 10 and 11.

Error 0x80070091 is a File Explorer issue that occurs for some users when they try to delete folders in Windows 11/10. The error message says, “The directory is not empty,” and you can’t delete the folder that throws the error.

The 0x80070091 message suggests that the error occurs because a folder isn’t empty. Yet, you should be able to erase directories that contain files without any issues. Furthermore, that error can also arise for empty folders. If you’re seeing the same folder error 0x80070091 in Windows, try applying these potential fixes.

1. Try Erasing the Folder With the Command Prompt

The Command Prompt gives users another way to delete folders in Windows 11/10. So, you might be able to erase an affected folder without issues by using the Command Prompt. Using the Command Prompt might be more of a workaround, but at least you’ll get the folder deleted if works.

Run Command Prompt with elevated (administrative) rights. Our guide about running Command Prompt as an administrator includes numerous methods for launching that app. Then input this command and press Enter to delete an affected folder:

 rmdir /s "folder path" 

You’ll need to replace folder path in that command with the location of whatever directory you need to delete. The location should include a drive letter and a full path for the directory like in this example:

 rmdir /s "C:\Users\New folder" 
The delete folder command

2. Restart Windows File Explorer

Restarting File Explorer can resolve issues that occur with that file manager. However, closing and reopening the Explorer window doesn’t restart the file manager. You’ll need to restart the Explorer process via Task Manager like this:

  1. To view Task Manager, press Ctrl + Shift + Esc simultaneously.
  2. Select File Explorer on the Processes tab.
    The Restart option for File Explorer

  3. Press the Restart button for the selected Explorer process.

3. Scan System Files With an SFC Scan

Error 0x80070091 can be caused by some corrupted system files that need repairing. Running an SFC scan might both detect and repair corrupted system files and fix error 0x80070091 in the process. You can scan with SFC as instructed in our post for running the System File Checker tool.

The SFC command

4. Check for Errors With a Disk Scan

The 0x80070091 error is often due to corrupted or bad hard drive sectors. A lot of users have said they’ve resolved that issue by using the Check Disk (CHKDSK) utility for repairing bad drive sectors. This is how you can check for and repair bad sectors with Check Disk:

  1. Open up the Command Prompt window with administrative rights.
  2. Type in this Check Disk command and press Enter:
     chkdsk /f /r C:  
  3. Press Y to schedule the scan for a restart.
    The chkdsk scan command

  4. Click Start and select Power > Restart to reboot.

If the folder the 0x80070091 error occurs for isn’t on the C: drive, you’ll need to modify the above command. Replace C: with the letter of the storage drive that includes the affected folder.

5. Modify the Affected Folder’s Permissions

Error 0x80070091 can arise because of insufficient folder permission. You might need to set an affected folder to full permission to resolve error 0x80070091. To do that, change the folder’s permission settings as follows:

  1. Open Explorer and right-click the affected folder to select Properties.
    The Properties option

  2. Click the window’s Security tab.
  3. Next, press the Advanced button.
    The Security tab

  4. Click Change beside the owner’s name.
    The Advanced Security Settings window

  5. Enter your Windows user account name inside the object name text box.
    The Select a User or Group window

  6. Then select the Check Names option and OK.
  7. Click Replace owner on subcontainers and objects to select that setting.
  8. Press the Advanced Security Settings window’s Apply and OK buttons.

6. Run an Antivirus Scan

Malware could also feasibly be causing error 0x80070091 on your PC. If you’re still trying to fix that issue after going through all the potential fixes above, run an antivirus scan with Windows Security or alternative third-party software. This is how to run a scan with the Windows Security app.

  1. Double-click a Windows Security (shield) icon in the system tray part of the taskbar.
  2. Click Virus & threat protection > Scan options to view all options for scanning.
    The Scan options navigation link

  3. Select the most thorough Full Scan option, which could take more than an hour to finish.
    The Full scan option

  4. Press Scan now to start the antivirus scanning.
  5. Then wait to see if the scan detects anything, and select Remove if it does.
  6. Click Start actions to apply.

Delete Your Folders in File Explorer Again With These Fixes

You’ll probably be able to delete the folders for which error 0x80070091 occurred after applying those potential solutions. If that error persists, the Windows registry on your PC could be corrupted. To resolve such registry issues, you might need to perform a system restore or even reset Windows 11/10.


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