3 ways to change the “confirm on delete” dialog in Windows 10

Changing how delete confirmation works in Windows 10 can be simple, a bit complicated, or somewhat dangerous, depending on your approach.

Image: iStock/PashaIgnatov

In Microsoft Windows 10, when you ask the operating system to delete a file, by default, the system will ask you to confirm your action. Under normal use, this brief interaction helps ensure you don’t delete an important file by accident. However, sometimes, you’d like to skip this confirmation dialog, particularly when deleting many files in a single session.

SEE: 10 tricks and tweaks for customizing Windows 10 (TechRepublic download)

There are three ways to change the “confirm on delete” dialog in Windows 10. One is simple and straightforward, one is mostly beneficial to system administrators, and one requires an edit to the Windows Registry File. This how-to tutorial shows you how to use all three methods to toggle the “confirm on delete” dialog in Windows 10.

How to toggle the confirm on delete dialog in Windows 10

The easiest way: The Recycle Bin

The confirm on delete dialog is an integral part of the Windows 10 Recycle Bin app, so the easiest way to toggle it is through its Properties screen. Right-click the Recycle Bin icon that is loaded onto your desktop by default and select Properties from the context menu. You should see something like Figure A.

Figure A


From that page you can toggle the delete confirmation by checking or unchecking the checkbox. Click OK when you are finished.

Not as easy: With the Group Policy Editor

At the enterprise level, system administrators may want to toggle the confirm on delete dialog on or off for all users in the organization. The best method for that operation is the Group Policy Editor. This method is only available if you are using Windows 10 Pro or an Enterprise version of the operating system.

SEE: How to securely and completely delete files in Windows 10 without third-party software (TechRepublic)

To open the Group Policy Editor, type “gpedit” into the search box on your Windows 10 desktop and select the appropriate app from the results. Using the left-hand navigation bar, navigate to this folder, as shown in Figure B:

User ConfigurationAdministrative TemplatesWindows ComponentsFile Explorer

Figure B


In the right-hand window, scroll down until you find the entry that reads: “Display confirmation dialog when deleting files” and double-click it to reveal the configuration screen shown in Figure C.

Figure C


Click the Enable radio button to turn the confirmation dialog on and Disable to turn it off. When you have made your choice click the OK button and close the editor.

Using the Windows Registry File

Disclaimer: Editing the Windows Registry file is a serious undertaking. A corrupted Windows Registry file could render your computer inoperable, requiring a reinstallation of the Windows 10 operating system and potential loss of data. Back up the Windows 10 Registry file and create a valid restore point before you proceed.

SEE: Windows 10 PowerToys: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)

To get started, type “regedit” into the desktop search box and select the appropriate entry from the search results. Use the left-hand navigation bar to navigate to this key, as shown in Figure D:


Figure D


Right-click on the Explorer folder and select New | DWORD (32-bit) Value to create a new key with the name “ConfirmFileDelete” as shown in Figure E.

Figure E


Double-click that new key and set its Value data to 1 and then click OK and exit the editor.

A warning about a lack of warnings

A word of warning. As you can see in Figure A, it is possible to toggle off both the delete confirmation dialog and to also eliminate the preliminary step of moving deleted files to the Recycle Bin. Configuring to this combination means that deleting a file is immediate, and for all intents and purposes, permanent. This is not recommended: We all make mistakes, and mistakenly deleting a file you shouldn’t could ruin your day. At least one form of deletion protection should be left in the “on” position.

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