Delete

Updated: 12/31/2020 by Computer Hope

Delete may refer to any of the following:

Delete

1. In general, delete or remove refers to the act of eliminating a file, text, or another object from the computer hard drive or other media. For example, if you had a picture on the computer you no longer wanted, it could be deleted.

What happens when you delete?

In Microsoft Windows, deleted files are sent to the Recycle Bin. On Apple computers, deleted files are sent to the Trash. In most operating systems, when files are deleted, they are only marked as such, but still exist on the hard drive until they are overwritten by other data. This condition is what makes data recovery possible.

What is the difference between deleting and uninstalling?

The delete feature is used to remove documents, pictures, and other files used by programs on your computer. Uninstall is used to remove a program installed on a computer.

When a program is installed on a computer, several files are copied to a computer and often in multiple locations. Some programs may also make changes to system files like the registry. When a program is uninstalled, all files are removed, and any system changes are removed or reverted to the default settings. When you delete a file, you're deleting one or more files in one location. A program could be removed by deleting its folder, but if files were copied elsewhere during the install, those files become orphan files, and any system file changes remain on the computer. Further information about uninstalling is on our uninstall page.

Delete key

2. Del is both a common abbreviation for delete and a key on a computer keyboard. It is sometimes used in combination with other keys to perform certain actions on a computer, also known as shortcut keys. For example, Ctrl+Alt+Del indicates pressing the Ctrl, Alt, and Del keys at the same time. The picture is an example of the delete key found on an Apple computer.

Note

With some keyboards, the delete key may be labeled as a clear key.

Where is the Del or Delete key on the keyboard?

Pictured below is a keyboard with the Delete keys highlighted in blue on the main keyboard and the numeric keypad.

Enter key

Note

Apple computer keyboards have a "delete" key instead of a Backspace key and no Del key on the numeric keypad. With Apple keyboards with a numeric keypad, there will be a clear button instead of a Del key. If you have a Chromebook see where is the delete key on a Chromebook section below.

Practice using the Del key

Click in the middle of the text in the below box and press the Del key to practice using the key.

Tip

Press and hold down Ctrl and press Del to delete one full word at a time, instead of deleting one character at a time.

How many delete keys are on the keyboard?

On desktop computer keyboards, there are two delete keys on the keyboard. On laptop computers with no numeric keypad, there is only one delete key on the keyboard. If you have a Chromebook, there are no delete keys.

Where is the delete key on a Chromebook?

There is no delete key on Chromebooks. However, if you need the functionality of a delete key, you can press the keyboard shortcut Alt+Backspace to delete on a Chromebook.

Does the delete key remove text from the left or right of the cursor?

On a PC keyboard, the Backspace key deletes the character to the left of the cursor and moves the cursor back one space. On these keyboards pressing the Delete key removes the character to the right of the cursor, and the cursor does not change position.

On an Apple keyboard, the Delete key behaves like the Backspace key on a PC keyboard. Pressing the Delete key on an Apple keyboard removes the character to the left of the cursor and moves the cursor back one space.

3. Delete is a command line command that removes data or files. Below is a list of different methods for deleting a file or directory from a command line.

4. When writing HTML, the <del> tag indicates that a block of text was deleted from a web page. In some cases, the <ins> tag would then be used to indicate the new text being added in place of the deleted text.

Backspace, Bitbucket, Clear, Control keys, Discard, Erase, Expunge, Keyboard terms, Kill, Mdelete, Negate, Purge, Scratch, Software terms, Terminate, Uninstall