I installed Windows 7 over the top of XP and it left me with a Windows.old folder.

I tried to delete it, and it got rid of everything except two files named:


From what I see on Google this has happened to others before. Apparently nothing short of booting up with Linux will solve this?

  • What error do you get when trying to delete them?
    – Joseph
    Nov 30, 2009 at 7:28
  • 5
    They look like stargate addresses. Jun 28, 2011 at 0:15

7 Answers 7


It's unlikely you'll be able to remove it from Windows. I had few files of similar naming-style. Boot using a Linux live CD and you should be able to delete them.

  • 1
    I just used this method back then. The only way. Tried using power shell, cmd, all failed.
    – Apache
    Apr 5, 2010 at 9:44
  • This worked for me.
    – KevinDeus
    Jul 6, 2011 at 17:30

Did you by any chance install any programs protected by SecuROM? I had a similar issue before and I managed to remove the file with the DelinvFile program. You can probably google for it, though it now seems that it's a commercial (paid) product.

EDIT: I just checked the webby. I think you can still download the software and give it a go. It seems like registration is for advanced features which you may not necessarily need, depending on the situation.

  • By @tuncerx: Thanks Darkwoof. Darkwoof's solution works fine. The problem is because of the SecureROM thingy. After using DelInvFile app, I was able to delete the windows.old folder.
    – Ivo Flipse
    Apr 5, 2010 at 9:37
  • @Ivo Flipse: Most welcome! Glad to help since I was also stuck in a similar predicament.
    – Darkwoof
    Apr 12, 2010 at 3:39

Have you tried the command line? Open up the DOS prompt then navigate to the folder and try this command

del /F *

And see if it takes care of it.

  • 13
    be sure to move any files you want to keep out of the folder first Nov 30, 2009 at 7:16
  • 1
    This didn't work when I had that problem. Jun 12, 2010 at 19:27

You could try the commandline. If the drive supports short filenames, you can use this to search and destroy. Of course, the drive could have other problems. You might want to run a chkdsk first.

X:\path\to\broken\files> dir /x

 Volume in drive X is somedrive
 Volume Serial Number is xxxx-xxxx

 Directory of X:\path\to\broken\files

11/29/2009  08:26 PM    <DIR>                       .
11/29/2009  08:26 PM    <DIR>                       ..
07/30/2007  09:30 PM             4,699 SOMFLN~1     broken-long-filename

         short filename -----------------|||

X:\path\to\broken\files> del SOMFLN~1

At first I thought it could be a process that still had a handle on the files but since they are in oldWindows this is unlikely. Still, worth checking it out, you can get Process Explorer to search for handles, copy paste the file name (F2 over the file to access the name). If there is a process using the file kill it and try to remove then.

Otherwise resort to Linux boot CD, it might be your only chance.

Best of luck.

Be sure to come back and tell us how you did get rid of them.


Have you tried running chkdsk /R C:?

It's possible that these are just some corrupt files that didn't get copied completely, and Windows is still reading them as such.


Use the Ultimate Windows Tweaker to take ownership of the files. This should work.

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