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I have a folder that I am unable to delete.

I also cannot take ownership.

The hard drive is one I have previously used in another PC, if this makes any difference.

When trying to take ownership it says it cannot display the current owner and when trying to take ownership selecting any group says access denied.

I've also tried via the command line using takeown however this too says Access Denied.

Windows 7, and I am logged in as an administrator.

marked as duplicate by Arjan, Heptite, Tog, Kevin Panko, Mokubai Apr 27 '14 at 17:41

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  • 1
    If you need to delete it and Windows is not allowing you to do so, boot from a Linux Live CD/USB and get rid of the folder. – Karan May 5 '13 at 20:27
  • Is it on an external drive? USB or similar? – Burhan Khalid Jan 30 '14 at 14:40
  • Karan's advice is particularly good for folders with thousands of files because rebooting to Linux is much faster than waiting for take ownership to complete. – ndemou Jun 15 '17 at 22:05
  1. Download PsExec.exe from Sysinternals, this tool allows you to open a command prompt under LOCAL SYSTEM privileges: http://live.sysinternals.com/psexec.exe (put it in C:\temp)

  2. Open a command prompt with Administrator Privileges

  3. CD into C:\temp

  4. Run: psexec -s -i cmd.exe, this installs a temporary service which will open a command prompt under LOCAL SYSTEM account. The service will be automatically deleted after you close the screen (i.e. after EXIT)

  5. Run: TAKEOWN /F <folder> /R /D Y, this will set the Administrators group as owner, it also recurses into the folder

  6. To give the Administrators group full control rights, run ICACLS <folder> /grant administrators:F /T; the /T indicates that this operation is performed on all matching files and directories below the directories specified

  • 1
    Thanks, but it still says Access Denied when trying through the cmd prompt opened by psexec – fileperms May 4 '13 at 16:04
  • 7
    Could be it's locked by some process. Take a look at link if there's something you can use. – Heebr May 4 '13 at 16:40
  • 1
    If this still doesn't help, try resetting permission (Inherit from above) and give Full rights to everyone by subsequently executing: 1: 'ICACLS <folder> /reset /T', 2: 'ICACLS <folder> /setowner everyone', 3: 'ICACLS <folder> /grant everyone:F' – Heebr May 4 '13 at 19:43
  • 2
    takeown must have parameter /A specified to assign ownership to the Administrators instead of the local system account. – Mahmoud Al-Qudsi Nov 15 '14 at 21:18
  • 1
    perform file system check (chkdsk on Windows) - perhaps the file system is damaged – Zrin Nov 14 '16 at 13:04

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