del / erase
Developer(s)DEC, Microware, Microsoft, IBM, DR, Datalight, Novell, JP Software, ReactOS Contributors
Operating systemRT-11, OS/8, RSX-11, OpenVMS, DOS, OS-9, MSX-DOS, FlexOS, SISNE plus, OS/2, Windows, ReactOS, KolibriOS, SymbOS, DexOS

In computing, del (or erase) is a command in command-line interpreters (shells) such as COMMAND.COM, cmd.exe, 4DOS, NDOS, 4OS2, 4NT and Windows PowerShell. It is used to delete one or more files or directories from a file system.


The command is available for various operating systems including DOS, Microware OS-9,[1] IBM OS/2,[2] Microsoft Windows[3] and ReactOS.[4] It is analogous to the Unix rm command and to the Stratus OpenVOS delete_file and delete_dircommands.[5]

DEC RT-11,[6] OS/8,[7] RSX-11,[8] and OpenVMS[9] also provide the delete command which can be contracted to del. AmigaDOS[10] and TSC FLEX[11] provide a delete command as well.

The erase command is supported by Tim Paterson's SCP 86-DOS.[12] On MS-DOS, the command is available in versions 1 and later.[13] It is also available in the open-source MS-DOS emulator DOSBox.

Datalight ROM-DOS also includes an implementation of the del and erase commands.[14]

While Digital Research DR-DOS supports del and erase as well, it also supports the shorthand form era, which derived from CP/M. In addition to this, the DR-DOS command processor also supports delq/eraq. These are shorthand forms for the del/era/erase command with an assumed /Q parameter (for 'Query') given as well.[15]

THEOS/OASIS[16] and FlexOS[17] provide only the erase command.

In PowerShell, del and erase are predefined command aliases for the Remove-Item cmdlet which basically serves the same purpose.


>del filename
>erase filename

See also


  1. ^ Paul S. Dayan (1992). The OS-9 Guru - 1 : The Facts. Galactic Industrial Limited. ISBN 0-9519228-0-7.
  2. ^ "JaTomes Help - OS/2 Commands". Archived from the original on 2019-04-14. Retrieved 2019-07-20.
  3. ^ "Del". 31 August 2016.
  4. ^ "reactos/reactos". GitHub. 3 January 2022.
  5. ^ "Reference manual" (PDF). Retrieved 2020-09-14.
  6. ^ "RT-11 HELP FILE". Archived from the original on 2018-07-17. Retrieved 2019-07-06.
  7. ^ "Concise Command Language" (CCL)."OS/8 Handbook" (PDF). April 1974. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  8. ^ John F. Pieper (1987). RSX A Guide for Users (PDF). Digital Equipment Corporation. ISBN 0-932376-90-8. Retrieved 2020-09-19.
  9. ^ "OpenVMS User's Manual".[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Rügheimer, Hannes; Spanik, Christian (September 14, 1988). AmigaDOS quick reference. Grand Rapids, Mi : Abacus. ISBN 9781557550491 – via Internet Archive.
  11. ^ "FLEX 2.0 User's Manual" (PDF).
  12. ^ 86-DOS - Disk Operating System for the 8086 - User's Manual (PDF). Version 0.3 (Preliminary ed.). Seattle, Washington, USA: Seattle Computer Products, Inc. 1980. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-07-14. Retrieved 2019-07-14. (59 pages)
  13. ^ Wolverton, Van (2003). Running MS-DOS Version 6.22 (20th Anniversary Edition), 6th Revised edition. Microsoft Press. ISBN 0-7356-1812-7.
  14. ^ "Datalight ROM-DOS User's Guide" (PDF).
  15. ^ DR DOS 6.0 User Guide Optimisation and Configuration Tips
  16. ^ THEOS/OASIS User′s Handbook
  17. ^ "FlexOS User's Guide" (PDF). 1986. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-09-25. Retrieved 2020-09-14.

Further reading