The RMDIR (or RD) command in Windows CMD is used to remove directories, specifically empty directories. It is a crucial tool for managing file system layouts by deleting unneeded or temporary directories, helping maintain an organized directory structure. This command is most effective when cleaning up space or restructuring folders on a Windows system.


The basic syntax for the RMDIR command is as follows:

RMDIR [drive:]path
RD [drive:]path

Here, [drive:]path specifies the directory to be deleted. Extended syntax which includes flags and options is used for more specific tasks:

RMDIR [/S] [/Q] [drive:]path
RD [/S] [/Q] [drive:]path
  • /S: Removes the specified directory and all its subdirectories along with any files. Used for deleting directory trees.
  • /Q: Quiet mode. Does not ask for confirmation when deleting directories with /S.


  • /S: Deletes a directory tree (i.e., the specified directory and all its subdirectories, including all files). This is useful for removing entire directory structures.

  • /Q: Quiet mode, suppresses the prompt for confirmation when used with the /S option. This is especially useful in scripts where no user interaction is desired.


  1. Deleting an Empty Directory:

    RMDIR C:\Users\Example\EmptyFolder
  2. Deleting a Directory Tree Without Confirmation:

    RMDIR /S /Q C:\Users\Example\OldProjects

    This command deletes the OldProjects directory and all its contents without asking for confirmation.

  3. Attempting to Delete a Non-empty Directory (without /S):

    RMDIR C:\Users\Example\Documents

    This will fail if Documents isn’t empty, showcasing the need for the /S option when dealing with non-empty directories.

Common Issues

  • Permission Errors: If you don’t have the necessary permissions to delete a directory, RMDIR will fail. Ensure you have the required permissions or use elevated command prompt (Run as Administrator).

  • Directory Not Empty: Trying to delete a directory that is not empty without the /S option will result in an error. Always use /S if the directory might contain files or subdirectories.

  • Directory In Use: If the directory or a file within it is in use, the command will fail. Make sure no files in the directory are open and no programs are using the directory.


The RMDIR command can be combined with other CMD commands for powerful scripting capabilities. Here’s an example script that first lists and then removes all empty directories within a specified directory:

FOR /D %p IN ("C:\Users\Example\TestFolder\*") DO RMDIR "%p"
  • DEL: Removes one or more files.
  • MKDIR or MD: Creates a new directory.
  • MOVE: Moves one or more files or directories from one location to another.

For more detailed information, you can refer to the official Microsoft documentation for the RMDIR command at: Microsoft RMDIR Documentation.