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After installing Cygwin on Windows 7 and realizing I'm better of with using Linux on a different partition, I wanted to uninstall it. However, Cygwin has no uninstaller so I was left with the option of deleting the whole folder it was installed in – which I did.

The problem is that a single file remained, in the whole directory tree, named README. at C:\cygwin\usr\share\texmf-dist\doc\latex\hausarbeit-jura\README.

I know Windows isn't supposed to allow files with names ending in ., but this one obviously got through, and I cannot delete it. When trying to do that, I get

Item Not Found

This is no longer located in C:\cygwin\usr\share\texmf-dist\doc\latex\hausarbeit-jura. Verify the item's location and try again.

When viewing the properties of the file (Right-click, Properties), Windows tells me that it has 0 bytes. However, when viewing it in the explorer window, and clicking on it, the windows status bar thing tells me it has 517 bytes.

Any ideas on how to get rid of it?

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migrated from Oct 28 '12 at 21:19

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This is a shot in the dark, as I'm not sure what steps you've taken, but have you tried deleting it from the cli? – paperids Oct 26 '12 at 18:04
Yes, I do get the exact same error. – user241543903 Oct 26 '12 at 18:15
You can write a short program to unlink specifically that file. That WILL work. – OmnipotentEntity Oct 26 '12 at 18:39

5 Answers 5

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Here's a short VBScript file to do what you need.

Set obj = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")

This should bypass the issue you're having with the del command and windows explorer. Just save that text as whatever.vbs and double click it.

If the file is flagged as read-only then you'll need to add a bit to that code, let me know.

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I managed to delete the file in cli using DEL *.* (DEL README. wouldn't work). However the folder still couldn't be deleted. Your script, adjusted for folders, did the trick. Cheers! – user241543903 Oct 26 '12 at 19:10

Having tried all of these suggestions and more, I still couldn't delete the offending files.

What finally did it was to use the following syntax (in an elevated command prompt):

del "\\?\<full path to file>"

eg, to use the original example:

del "\\?\C:\cygwin\usr\share\texmf-dist\doc\latex\hausarbeit-jura."
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I did this when the vbs script solution in the accepted answer did not work. The file is gone now :] – FRob Jun 25 at 10:01

Open an elevated command prompt and type in the following commands, pressing Enter after each one:

cd C:\cygwin\usr\share\texmf-dist\doc\latex\hausarbeit-jura\

del *.*


cd c:\

rmdir /s /q C:\cygwin\usr\share\texmf-dist\doc\latex\hausarbeit-jura\

rmdir /s /q C:\cygwin\usr\share\texmf-dist\doc\latex\

rmdir /s /q C:\cygwin\usr\share\texmf-dist\doc\

rmdir /s /q C:\cygwin\usr\share\texmf-dist\

rmdir /s /q C:\cygwin\usr\share\

rmdir /s /q C:\cygwin\usr\

rmdir /s /q C:\cygwin\
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The easiest way to do this is to open a Windows Command Prompt window and use the rd command with the /S /Q options. You might have to open the Command Prompt as an administrator for this to work.

  1. Click the Start Button (Orb) and locate the link to open the Command Prompt. If you don't see it, you might have to search for it by typing command or cmd.exe in the search box at the bottom.
  2. Right click on the command or cmd.exe link and select Run as administrator, then click Yes if prompted to allow it.
  3. In the Command Prompt window, type the command (don't press the Enter key yet):
    rd /S /Q "C:\Cygwin"
  4. This command will delete all the files and folders inside the specified folder without prompting, so be sure to double and triple check check that you have specified the correct folder.
  5. If you want to be prompted to delete the files and sub-folders, type the command without the /Q like this: rd /S "C:\Cygwin"
  6. When you are sure you have typed the command correctly, press the Enter key.

The Cygwin folder, and all the files and sub-folders within it will be deleted.

Here is the syntax for the rd command:

C:\>rd /?
Removes (deletes) a directory.

RMDIR [/S] [/Q] [drive:]path
RD [/S] [/Q] [drive:]path

    /S      Removes all directories and files in the specified directory
            in addition to the directory itself.  Used to remove a directory

    /Q      Quiet mode, do not ask if ok to remove a directory tree with /S

If there are System, Hidden, or Read-only files or folders that cause the rd command to fail, use the attrib command with the /S /D options like this:

attrib -S -H -R "C:\Cygwin\*.*" /S

to remove those attributes from the files and sub-folders, then re-try the rd command.

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What a really silly solution that Ive found. Its the simplest and fastest and easiest way to achieve this. I am now laughing at how much simple it is.

  1. Just Install WinRAR (if you dont have it, cause everyone who I know has it.)
  2. Follow the Step by Step procedure from pictures:
    enter image description here
    enter image description here
    enter image description here
    enter image description here

I dont know if you can do it with 7zip. but WinRAR has it and you dont have to buy it, just install the trial and then uninstall it (or probably portables out there but i dont think they are legit i.e. they are possibly cracked.)

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