I dropped my laptop and was no longer able to boot. There were error messages about a corrupt boot record. Replacing the hard drive and reinstalling Win 7 was how I dealt with it.

The old drive still appears to be good and I can read and write to it when I connect it as a second drive and mount as D:. However, if I try to recover the space being used by the windows, programdata, program files & program files(x86) folders, by deleting them I get error messages about needing permission from trustedinstaller. If I set myself as the owner of the folders and retry the delete I get error messages about needing permission from myself! Since I'm pretty sure that I have permission from myself to delete the folders, I can only assume that the OS or file system has gotten its panties twisted.

I have tried shift, right click, delete from explorer and also if I run "del /f /s /q D:\Windows" from an admin command prompt, I get a succession of Access is denied messages as well.

How do I delete D:\Windows, D:\ProgramData, D:\Program Files & D:\Program Files(x86) from a drive that is not the Windows installation drive?

  • 2
    try booting from ubuntu (or any other distro) live disk , and then delete these files
    – Shekhar
    Jan 31, 2011 at 14:59
  • As there's still no other solution, and from talking to a few others, I've come to the conclusion that this must be an actual bug. If a System Administrator can take ownership of files, give themselves all rights, and still be denied to carry them out, something's amiss. Having to use a third-party OS is a workaround, but not acceptable in my view, and definitely not Microsoft's intention. Plus, I still don't trust Linux' NTFS support 100%. Jul 29, 2012 at 13:26

1 Answer 1


First of all, Formatting is the easiest way but if you can't do it, you may need to do it from outside of windows.

As you said, you tried the owner ship and other things. i assumed that you tried that del command from an elevated command prompt.

Any way, if you have anything like Hiren's boot cd or any Other live OS, you can delete the files from there easily.

Also, before deleting this files, you may want to run a "chkdsk D: /F /V /R" for ensuring that indexes and mft is good and stable.

  • I agree, since it's no longer the drive with your applications, I would back up all your data (or just move it to the new drive) and format the old one.
    – Chuck
    Jan 31, 2011 at 16:14

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