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Methods of Deleting "Unable to Delete Files"

We often encountered "unable to delete some files or folders" in using Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7, some errors warning may be "Can not delete this file, it may be using or protected, etc", of course, it is relative. Here I summarize some common methods of deleting "Unable to Delete Files".


No method is universal, the practical effect may be determined by the operating system, file or folder permissions and the current user permissions, and even the partition format, you may need to combine these possible method flexibly.

Some methods of deleting files/folders

Here are some common methods of deleting files or folders, yo can try some of them when you are sufferring a deletion problem.

  1. Using command to delete in DOS mode or the windows's command prompt, such as del, deltree, rename, etc.
  2. Using professional tools to delete these junk files, such as Total Commander, Unlocker or other softwares.
  3. If you have a multi-system or dual system, you can delete one system's file from another operating system.
  4. If the file is using, you can try your deletion in the safe mode (press F8 key during startup to enter Safe Mode options).
  5. Rename the file (including file name and extension) and then continue your removal.
  6. Create a file with the same name, and try to replace it. and then continue your removal.
  7. Format the partition or the disk, or run a disk cleaning.
  8. Kill the process of the file in task manager if it is using.
  9. Check if the file path is too long, if so just shorten it, there is no problem of path length in NTFS file system.
  10. If you delete a NOT exist file or folder, it may have been deleted, just log off or restart your computer to check again.

How to Remove Vista/Windows 7 Files in Windows XP

This issue may be encountered in the dual system, or you want to uninstall one of the operating system, mainly because Windows XP's user has no permission with Vista/windows 7 files. For example, remove Program Files/Windows or Documents and Settings folder of Vista/Windows 7 in windows XP, there will normally report errors, such as "you can not access to these files", "Can not delete bfsvc: Access is denied", "Can not delete dao360.dll: Access is denied", "Can not delete WelcomeScan: Access is denied", and so on.

Solution as follows:

1. There is a simple method of deleting these files for more newer, copy the useful files and folders to another partition, when you finished, just format the partition quickly.

2. If the useful files are too large, and you don't want to copy them, you may need to authorize your account with ACL privilege. Just follow this:

How to Grant Full Permissions in Windows XP

When finished, you can repeat the deletion.

How to Delete Files and Folders in Vista/Windows 7

1. Delete the system files or folders

Of course, you can not delete some important system files and folders when windows Vista or Windows 7 is running. the system will be corrupted without those files. but for more system files, them can be deleted. for example windows.old folders, some corrupted files, and some backup system files, etc.

If the files are damaged, please try to recovery these files using disktools(such as error-checking, etc) before deletion. If you want to delete windows.old files, just refer to the steps mentioned above.

2. Delete non-system common files or folders

In Windows Vista and Windows 7, deletion problems generally caused by the permission privilege, in addition to some methods can be used described above, the common approach is to promote the privilege before any removal operations.

3. Delete the files or folders which contain illegal characters

If the files or folders contaion illegal characters, such as ".", "/", "}", etc, you are unable to delete it directly, you can rename them from the windows prompt or DOS mode if you know what the original name it is, because the original file name might not be the same as the name you have seen in windows. If you don't know, look for help from some professional software, such as unlocker, etc.


Posted by: garrydam| /08/28/13 | 13:02 pm |
Try and download " Long Path Tool " is also useful in situations where you see these error messages: Cannot read from source file or disk, there has been a sharing violation, cannot delete file or folder, the file name you specified is not valid or too long, the source or destination file may be in use and many other file managing errors.
Posted by: Xavier| /03/15/12 | 13:00 pm |
I have been using LongPath tool for past few months. It works fine with unlocking and modifying system restricted files and folders.
Posted by: FelixKey| /02/29/12 | 08:38 am |
I have faced same problem also. After days of searching I finally found this software and using for some time. That is Long Path Tool, which can simplify and probably end your problems in unlocking, managing and renaming files that appear to have a long filename. So go to get your problem solved.

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