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Can't Delete old Win XP system files

By bdraymond ·
I have a new installation of Win XP. There is a previous installation of XP which has been deleted except for the System32 folder. I was able to delete it as far as the recycle bin but any attempts to purge it from the Recycle bin causes a "Unable to delete folder not empty" message. How can I delete this folder? I am logged on as administrator.

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by w2ktechman In reply to Can't Delete old Win XP s ...

Have you tried to restore it, empty it, rename it, and then delete it?

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by bdraymond In reply to

Yes. I restored the folder and renamed it. It still would not delete but I could delete the contents one item at a time. Was able to delete all except folder named "Reinstallbackups" which conained a single unnamed empty folder. Any Attempts to delete the folder "Reinstallbackups" generates the message "Folder not empty". Attempts to delete the empty folder generates the message: Cannot delete file: Cannot read from source file or disk. I would still like to delete both of these entries but at least they are both empty and not taking up any drive space to speak of. Any other suggestions?

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by w2ktechman In reply to Can't Delete old Win XP s ...

what about deleting from safe mode? or popping the disk into another system (seems extreme)
Another thought would be to try logging in as administrator and trying it. And before you say it, I am sure you have admin permissions, but I have seen some programs that just would not uninstall until logged on as the actual admin (and some others gave that message logged in as admin???)
Another thought would be a reg hack or to reinstall SP2

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by bdraymond In reply to

I am Administrator and Owner as well as the only user of this computer but I logged in as the unnamed Administrator and tried to deleted the entries. No Luck. I tried the same in Safe Mode. No Luck. I tried the same from Safe Mode with Command Prompt and opened the old Windows directory and typed rd REINSTALLBACKUPS /s The empty, previously undeleteable directory was deleted along with its parent directory. I was then able to delete the old Windows directory, restart Windows and purge the whole mess from the recycle bin. Apparently the /s used with the Remove Directory command is something new with XP. Thanks for all your suggestions which headed me in the right direction.

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by sgt_shultz In reply to Can't Delete old Win XP s ...

I would check Security and Permissions on the folders, maybe Take Ownership to try to delete them.
Have you run Scandisk lately to ensure you do not have a crossed file link or some other file system corruption?

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by bdraymond In reply to

Thanks for the suggestion but I am logged in as administrator and Owner. Apparently no crossed links or file corruption.

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by Sue T In reply to Can't Delete old Win XP s ...

I got the following from this website: http://www.dougknox.com/xp/tips/xp_undeletable_file.htm
Open a Command Prompt window and leave it open. Close all open programs. Click Start, Run and enter TASKMGR.EXE Go to the Processes tab and End Process on Explorer.exe. Leave Task Manager open. Go back to the Command Prompt window and change to the directory the AVI (or other undeletable file) is located in. At the command prompt type DEL <filename> where <filename> is the file you wish to delete. Go back to Task Manager, click File, New Task and enter EXPLORER.EXE to restart the GUI shell. Close Task Manager. I hope this does the trick for you.

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by bdraymond In reply to

My eyes crossed just trying to understand this solution but the problem was finally resolved by starting Windows with Safe mode command prompt and using the remove directory command with a /s to removed subdirectories and file. The offending files are now gone and purged from the recycle bin.

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by bdraymond In reply to Can't Delete old Win XP s ...

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