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Deleting the Un-Deleteable


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#1
Tempest210

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I am passing this on because I had downloaded a file that I found would not delete.
I tried the normal ways, Closing Programs, Booting into Safe Mode, ‘Cutting and Pasting’ the file to a new folder, etc, but I still got the "Cannot delete. File is being used by another person or program", which meant it couldn’t be renamed, or moved either.

I then found out Microsoft has pages and pages dedicated to this subject, example:
You cannot delete a file or a folder on an NTFS file system volume
http://support.micro...kb;en-us;320081

And you guessed it, none of the solutions they posted would work for me. So that got me trying some other ways I could tackle this problem, and I ended up finding three ways of removing a file trapped in this ‘Cannot Delete’ [bleep].

I tested each of these methods and they all worked, but if one doesn’t you can then try the next one in the list.

Method One:
Open up Task Manager and end the explorer.exe process. You'll lose your desktop, but that's easily remedied, since your task manager will stay open (and you can repeatedly open Task Manager even if you close it.) You do this by pressing, Ctrl Alt Delete.

Your next step is to go to File > New Task (Run...) in Task Manager and type in cmd.exe. Running this command will bring up the command prompt.
From there, you type cd (Change Directory) to the directory where the offending file is stored and run the del (delete) command on it. It should be gone the moment you delete it, but you can run a dir command just to make sure the file is no longer listed in that directory. In this case, you might have too many files to view, so you can skip this step if you want. Or you can type dir ‘The name of the file you wanted to remove’ and if the file is not found, you know you got it.

Example cd c:\windows\system32\drivers
del winik.com

Now that your file is deleted, you need to bring up Task Manager again. Go to File > New Task (Run...) and type in explorer.exe. After running this command your desktop should come back up. If not, just reboot your system.

Method two: Open Notepad in the folder where the offending file sits. Select File, and Save As, then type in the same name as the undeletable file. Make sure you also have the setting ‘Save as type’ set to All files, from the default, .txt.
You will get the message, ‘Filename’ already exists. Do you want to replace it?
Click Yes, and now the file has been over written, and should be zero bytes. Effectively destroyed and now removable.

Method Three: Download KNOPPIX Linux, which is a bootable CD with a collection of GNU/Linux software. You can then boot your system from the CD and have Linux running instead of your OS. Now you can navigate to any part of your hard drive and delete unwanted and undeletable files. You can also rename files, and even make a backup CD. When removing files, if your system is FAT 32 it’s really a snap, if it’s NTSF, you should read up on how to remove files with this files system as you can do more damage then good, (ie. deleting files needed to boot your OS) but if you have read this far, then you can certainly learn what you need to do when using KNOPPIX Linux.
http://www.knoppix.org/

Good luck.
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#2
Fenor

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I suggest you try using Killbox, this program allows you to delete a file on reboot so that there is no possible way it is being used. Google for it and you should be able to find it.
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#3
Tempest210

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Hey thanks for the tip. I just tested Killbox on a file that was un-removable.
(I keep some for tested purposes) and it worked when I selected the "Delete on Reboot" option.
It still wouldn’t go quietly when just trying "Standard file kill" Stubborn little bugger.
Still, if I don’t have killbox handy, I can at least try one of the first two methods.

I have now added this small, handy program to my Utilities folder. Thanks again.
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#4
Michael

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in addition to Killbox I use http://www.softpedia.../Unlocker.shtml wich is handy because you don't have to reboot every time you what to delete something like that.
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