I am using Windows XP Home Edition. When I try to delete a folder I have named cygwin. When I try to delete it or any file or folder within it, there is a long pause, and then an error pops up, saying:

Cannot delete Cygwin: Access is denied. Make sure the disk is not full or read-write protected and that the file is not currently in use.

I have tried deleting the folder and the files it contains with FileAssassin, and unlocking it with LockHunter. Neither report any errors unless I try to have them delete the file or folder, then I get an error message saying Access Denied. I have rebooted into Safe Mode to change the ownership, but I get Access Denied when I click OK or Apply. How can I delete this folder?


4 Answers 4


Get a Linux Live Cd, and either get gparted, systemrescue or parted magic (anyone would work, but a small distro for something quick). Burn it cd/usb, and boot your computer to it. Mount the hd, and find the folder and delete it.

You can use Unetbootin or do it manually.


Microsoft wrote an article listing many different things that can prevent deletion and fixes for each:

With a directory named cygwin, the problem is probably "Cause 5: The file name includes a reserved name in the Win32 name space" because cygwin contains a dev subdirectory containing files which may overlap with Win32 reserved device names. The solution is to use the \\?\ prefix to name these files.


A few thoughts:

Restart PC in safe mode and then try to delete it.


Right click on the folder Select properties Open the security tab Click advanced Click Owner. Are you the owner? If not, make sure you are the owner (inclduing subfolders) then try to delete it.


Make sure you delete it without selecting the folder. So, in Windows Explorer, Single click another folder (whilst keeping the folder in question visible in the view), then right click the folder you want to delete and select delete (this will prevent the folder opening). The issue can be (I think) about Windows trying to display a .thmb file or similar).


Last suggestion is to right click the folder and make sure it's not read-only (nor any subfolders)


Share the folder and give it full permissions to everyone, log in from another PC on network which can see the folder and try to delete it


Try this:

  1. Open a cmd box. (Start > Run > cmd)
  2. Open the Task Manager. (Right-click on the taskbar.)
  3. Kill explorer.exe. Don’t close the Task Manager.
  4. Navigate in the cmd box to the undeletable file.
  5. Delete it with DEL (I used DEL . for an immensely gratifying delete experience).
  6. Using the File menu in Task Manager, restart explorer.exe.


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