How to delete specific files in System32/drivers?

I need to remove a software manually.Guide says that I need to remove some .sys files that are related to that software from System32/drivers but I can't. I get the "You need permission to perform this action". The permission is required from SYSTEM. I'm logged in as local administrator. Tried using Unlocker, giving myself full access to the files and even to Everyone. Tried deleting through safe mode. One of the files I took ownership with takeown and cacls and now it's asking me I need permission from myself(administrator account)!

How to delete system files if I'm logged in as local admin and still need permission from SYSTEM?

Some of the files I need to delete: srtspx64.sys and srtspl64.sys


  • Use a linux live system. Rename the files and reboot. Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 15:13
  • 1
    Please read superuser.com/questions/100360/…. Summary: Removal is never guaranteed. Before ever using that PC again for anything sensitive (such as Internet banking) first nuke the OS from orbit. Do a clean reinstall.
    – Hennes
    Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 13:48

5 Answers 5


You can do it easily via:
Executing :

takeown /f srtspx64.sys
cacls srtspx64.sys /E /P /g abc:f
del srtspl64.sys /f /p
del srtspx64.sys /f /p

Replace abc with your username

  • Please do not post links to files in random download locations.
    – DavidPostill
    Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 21:27
  • 2
    What are you even talking about. This is the best answer on the site.
    – ojblass
    Commented May 23, 2020 at 17:59
  • @ojblass The answer was edited a few years ago, probably had a download link at the time
    – Lapys
    Commented Jun 9, 2021 at 4:30
  • This anonymous genious needs to report to Stockholm immediately for his/her Nobel Prize.
    – Stian
    Commented Mar 4 at 17:49

Files in System32 are typically owned by "TrustedInstaller" and are locked down really tightly. If you really, absolutely feel you must do this, the easiest way is to boot from a Linux LiveCD or a Windows install disk.

Using Linux, mount the drive R/W with the ntfs-3g utility (or just use mount; all modern Linux distros default to using ntfs-3g) and delete the files like you would any others (from a shell, the command is rm). I know this approach works.

Using Windows install media, you need to enter repair / recovery mode. That will give you the option to open a command prompt. This prompt can be used to browse to the folder (note that it may not be on the C: drive, if the install media is putting itself as C:) and try deleting the file, potentially using the same kinds of things you did above (taking ownership, changing ACLs, etc.). This should work, but I haven't tested it.


Note That deleting any thing under the windows folder can cause the entire system to stop working! Just because you are logged in as a local admin does not mean that all processes you start run with full access you have to start them in admin mode!

You could try to start CMD in administrator mode and then delete the files with the DEL command.

If you still can't delete the file you could use handle.exe found in Sysinternals to see if some other process is locking the file.

  • 3
    DEL says 'Access denied'. Sysinternals doesn't work, says "Error loading driver: A". Yes, just "A".
    – user317441
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 16:18
  • 1
    @user317441 Sorry i have no more ideas.. but if you ask me i would rather reinstall the computer then fiddle with the system32 folder.
    – Peter
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 18:41

Use IOBit Unlocker, it's a great tool, super easy to use, free, and I can vouch that it deleted my rogue drivers from System32\drivers. See other options here (but I only tried Unlocker).


Grant full access to file by icacls before deleting (since cacls is deprecated):

takeown /f <file>
icacls <file> /P <username>:F
del /F <file>


takeown /F c:\windows\sytem32\calc.exe
icacls c:\windows\sytem32\calc.exe /P John:F
del /F c:\windows\sytem32\calc.exe

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