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On my machine I have two HDDs and in both I have a Windows 8 x64 installed. I booted from one of them and tryed to delete the contents of the other one (D:\Windows for example), but Windows 8 don't let me go on, for example, I tried to delete %ProgramFiles%/WindowsApps (hiden folder) and the folowing message was poped to me:

enter image description here

In this case I can't even open and read the folder content.

How could I delete the contents of this disk without having to reformat or even without having to boot a Linux on this machine?

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In order to do this, you would have to take ownership of the files, this of course would screw with the ownership. You would have to have exact duplicates of the same installation for this to work the correct way. – Ramhound Oct 25 '12 at 19:55
up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you're an admin, you can just use this registry tweak to "Take Ownership" of the files (recursively) and delete what you do not want. But if you run any programs off there, it will probably cause some permissions issues (assuming you have any thing you care of on there).

It says it works for Windows 8.

Take Ownership

Many times you need to take ownership of a file or folder in Windows. For example, when you want to customize Windows UI and need to replace existing system files with a new one. You have to follow no. of steps to take ownership and grant yourself full permission to access the file or folder. But now you can do it in a single step.

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If you log on to an account with administrator priv, you should be able to select the directory ( or directories), view their properties from Windows Explorer, and from their under the security tab change the ownership and permissions to allow full access.

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You might be able to do this via the windows recovery environment (WinRE). It might not work though as rights could be preserved there too.

You might be able to take ownership too:

For WinRE

Use with caution

To do this go to Modern UI settings, general. At the bottom choose restart.

From there, choose troubleshoot then advanced, choose the command prompt option.

Log in with your normal username

Type diskpart then list vol to get a list of your hard drives. VERY CAREFULLY work out which is the one you want to delete the contents of.

Type exit to leave diskpart

Type <drive letter>: for example e:.

Type dir /p to list files/folders so you can check the contents to convince yourself this is the right drive.

When you are double sure type del *.*

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If you need to delete any Windows file/folder (ntfs/fat) and have problems with "permissions" or "file is in use" ... use a Linux Live CD.

I can't delete a file - even when using unlocker

Virus, system file... anything can be deleted this way.

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