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I have Windows XP installed on the first partition and the second partition is empty. I also have an external hard drive plugged in. I installed Windows Vista on the second partition and now my external hard drive got some odd files that I don't have permission to access. What are those files and is it safe to delete them?

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Yes, it is safe to delete them. Sometimes you need to take ownership (and then change permissions) before trying to delete them.

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Take ownership is explained here: http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/67717-take-ownership-file.html

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