Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I recently upgraded my workstation from XP SP3 to Vista Business, and during the upgrade Windows moved my old C:\Windows directory to C:\Windows.old. I got all of the stuff I needed out of that folder, but there are six "undeletable" files there so I cannot remove it. They are:

Windows.old\Program1\Adobe\Reader 9.0\Resource\CMap\Identity-H
Windows.old\Program1\Adobe\Reader 9.0\Resource\CMap\Identity-V
Windows.old\Program1\Common Files\Adobe\Acrobat\ActiveX\AcroIEHelper.dll
Windows.old\Program1\Common Files\Adobe\Acrobat\ActiveX\AcroIEHelperShim.dll
Windows.old\Program1\Common Files\Adobe\Acrobat\ActiveX\AcroPDF.dll
Windows.old\Program1\Common Files\Adobe\Acrobat\ActiveX\pdfshell.dll

Whenever I try to delete the files either through explorer or a command line, I get a permission denied error. I have tried to grant myself full permission on the files, but again, permission denied. I don't even have acrobat installed on my Vista machine, and I uninstalled Adobe updater. However, I still can't manage to get rid of these files. How do I nuke them for good?

Edit: I was able to take ownership of the files, but I still can't delete them. Renaming them did not work, as I was denied permission to do that as well. I'll try booting up in safe mode and getting rid of them there.

Edit II: Booting up into safe mode did not allow me to delete the files. Bummer.

share|improve this question
up vote 8 down vote accepted

You'll want to first take ownership of the files, which is easiest when you add Take Ownership to the right-click menu.

Once you've done that, you can do one of the following:

  • Use Unlocker to remove whatever is locking the file, and then delete it.
  • Use Boot Deleter to delete it when you reboot.
  • Try and rename the file, sometimes you can rename them when you can't delete them. Once you reboot, you can delete it.
  • Try and delete it from safe mode.
  • Delete it from the command prompt, usually safe mode works the best.
share|improve this answer
+1 for Safe Mode. Previously when I've had stubborn to delete files, Safe Mode has saved the day. – Pauk Aug 10 '09 at 10:59

I had a similar problem deleting a seemingly empty folder.

These are the steps I had taken:

  1. Use Cedrick Collomb's Unlocker to remove any locks
  2. Use Unlocker to delay delete on reboot
  3. Turn off windows search service to prevent indexing of folder
  4. Deleted user rights of "unkown user" (rights from previous OS)
  5. Took ownership of folder
  6. Rename folder to delete
  7. Delete from command line with admin rights
  8. Delete in Safe Mode

None of these solutions worked for me.

My solution:

It then occurred to me that the file system might have become corrupted. I therefore ran check and repair of the file system by running

chkdsk /f
from the command prompt. After a reboot I was finally able to delete the folder.

share|improve this answer
Nick, did none of the answers on this page help you? If one did though, please let everyone know. Thanks. – Jaspio Nov 3 '09 at 13:36

Try taking ownership of the files and then deleting them.

share|improve this answer

Just guessing here, but as your SU name is Nik and that user says Delade, I am guessing this is a ACL issue.

Here is a very quick and simple way to do it -

Otherwise, right click and go to properties, go to security and add your name with full control.

share|improve this answer
It says "Delade filer" because it's a Swedish version of Windows; it's not actually somebody's username. ;) I forgot about this when I pasted in the paths, but I've edited my original question to use the English translations and avoid any confusion. – Nik Reiman Aug 7 '09 at 7:45
Well, I feel like a idiot now! – William Hilsum Aug 7 '09 at 7:49

If it's not:

  • a problem of ownership => Permissions properly sets (the how-to-geek take ownership should do it)
  • locked by another program or possible to delete them at reboot => FileASSASSIN or the previously mentioned Unlocker should help you (or Lock Hunter for Windows7)
  • a hard disk problem => try to fix it with chkdsk /F or another HD scan/repairs program

It could be a corrupted filename, so you could try Delete Doctor (freeware) or delinvfiles (shareware, but more features) to delete the files with short or UNC filenames.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .