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I read an ehow article about deleting the windows by going into safe mode and opening a cmd prompt, cd to C:// and typing DEL WINDOWS

When this happens, what is doing the deleting and what is left after? I recently read an article about how it is possible for applications to delete themselves; is that what happens with the DEL WINDOWS command?

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del windows is not a magic command to delete the OS. It only deletes a file (or directory) named windows. –  grawity May 19 '13 at 10:40

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during this operation, the essential OS is fully loaded into ram, so the files can be deleted while the system is still running. usually you cannot do this with a full boot, since the entire OS isn't ram-resident, but in the case of safemode, most of the external stuff is disabled and the minimal kernel is all it needs.

Note, this only removes the operating system itself, and does not delete the 3rd party applications you have installed or user data. it would be a bad idea to attempt to install windows on this drive again without either deleting all files, or formatting the drive.

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wfp doesn't prevent the removal of the files, it just copies back original versions from the dll cache if they are missing at boot. in XP bypassing WFP is as easy as deleting the file from system32 and the dllcache, and causing a blackscreen shutdown, so that at reboot, there is no dll in the dll cache to replace the original with. With vista/win7 WFP is no longer used. from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_File_Protection 'Windows Vista and later Windows systems do not include Windows File Protection, but they include Windows Resource Protection which protects files using ACLs. ' –  Frank Thomas May 18 '13 at 23:24

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