How to delete folders from SharePoint Online

If you use SharePoint Online from Office 365 suite you might have encountered the following issue - you are not able to delete a folder that contains other folders or files unless you are deleting all the nested files and folders.

At first, I have blamed it on retention policies or SharePoint issues but after a call with Microsoft, I was surprised to find that this is a feature, not a bug.

Just a bit of disclaimer here, if by any chance you are also using retention policies or retention labels, this might contribute to the problem. The below workaround might not work.

Funny enough, Microsoft has a surprising workaround:

  • You need to go to the affected Library Settings (the SharePoint library that contains your folder)
    • Go to the Advanced settings and change the view to the Classic experience (The last setting on the page I think...)
  • Then, you need to open the SharePoint site in Internet Explorer, not in Edge or any other browser. 
    • Go to the Library and in the settings, you will find - Open with Explorer
    • This button is only available if you use the Internet Explorer
  • From the Explorer window, you can now delete the whole folder.