(cross-posted from my blog at http://sharepointduffbert.com/2013/08/27/how-to-delete-document-library-folders-that-are-locked-or-checked-out/)

I got a help desk case where the customer was trying to delete a folder from a document library. But every time she tried it, she got the error message below. I tried to delete it and got the same result. It didn’t matter if it was through the browser interface, the Explorer interface, or SharePoint Designer. No go…


I found the answer in the blog entry below:


Apparently it’s an issue of there still being documents in the library that have not yet had a major version published. To the person trying to delete the folder, it looks empty.  What you need to do is go into the Library Settings and take ownership of the files. You can then delete the entries, and after that the folder can be deleted.

Library Tools > Library > Library Settings > Permissions and Management > Manage files which have no checked in version:





Hopefully that will save you a bit of time if you run into the same situation…

About the author 

Thomas Duff

Thomas Duff works for a large health insurance company in Portland Oregon, and has 20 years of experience developing applications with collaborative technologies such as Microsoft SharePoint and IBM Lotus Notes. He works closely with the business customers, translating their needs and ideas into technology solutions, filtering them from the “techno-speak” that often creates barriers between business and IT areas. He is a two-time published author on instant messaging technologies, and has written a large number of articles for various technology publications.​​​​​