How-To Geek

How to Delete a System File in Windows 7 or Vista

Warning: Do not delete system files. Bad things will probably ensue.

If you need to delete or overwrite a system file in Windows 7 or Vista, you’ll quickly notice that you cannot delete system files, even as administrator. This is because Windows system files are owned by the TrustedInstaller service by default, and Windows File Protection will keep them from being overwritten.

Thankfully, there’s a way that you can get around this. You need to take ownership of the files, and then assign yourself rights to delete or modify the file. For this, we’ll use the command line.

Open an administrator command prompt by typing cmd into the start menu search box, and hit the Ctrl+Shift+Enter key combination.

To take ownership of the file, you’ll need to use the takeown command. Here’s an example:

takeown /f C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui

That will give you ownership of the file, but you still have no rights to delete it. Now you can run the cacls command to give yourself full control rights to the file:

cacls C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui /G geek:F

Note that my username is geek, so you will substitute your username there.

At this point, you should be able to delete the file. If you still can’t do so, you may need to reboot into Safe Mode and try it again. For the filename in the example, I was able to overwrite it without safe mode, but your mileage may vary.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/28/07

Comments (210)

  1. Rob K.

    Works Great Thx!!!

  2. Jmc15john

    This actually works and it’s good because the onscreen keyboard was being gay and always turning on, on a boot up. Not anymore.


  3. joydeep

    Thanks for the tip for deleting system32 files. I almost got frustrated with the idea of having to install Vista for the 3rd time in a span of 6 hours… Thanks a lot. It works.

  4. Iwatson

    How do you delete a directory or several files? The reason I asked this is, I installed vista two time on my laptop. The first was in a small partition and the second in the larger one. Now I need to delete the windows and system files from the small partition to free up space

  5. Will

    Thanks for the tips I am trying to do the same as Iwatson. This works great:

    cacls “Program Files” /T /G Administrator:F

    cacls “Windows” /T /G Administrator:F

    cacls “Users” /T /G Administrator:F

  6. alan

    ok, this seemed complicated since i wanted to delete many system files from a previous Vista install on a secondary partition that i was cleaning up. i didn’t want to reformat, so i tried delete and ran into this brick wall.

    the solution that i find much easier for multiple files is the following:
    (assuming you CAN use admin privs) 1)via folder properties go to your security tab.
    2) in the bottom half you have the permissions listed for users, click the Advanced button
    3) now go to the Owner tab, click Edit button (you will be asked for permision if UAC is at default)
    4) change owner to your account and be sure to check the ‘Replace owner on subcontainers and objects’ and click Apply button. this results in all files including system files being switched to your account as owner!
    5)now in the ‘Advanced Security Settings for (your folder)’ you need to edit the permissions: select your account (the one you just used to take ownership) and click Edit button.
    6) you now see the Permissions tab and you need to again select your user account. (ensure that the permission is Full Control) check the lower ‘Replace all existing inheritable permissions…’ box and click Apply.
    You are done! now you can close all the property stuff and just delete your folder. it may still ask for permission, but you now have the needed permissions to delete all contents of the folder.

    hope this solves the problem for anyone that needs to take care of multiple files, obviously it will work for a single file as well.

  7. Anders

    You rock. I’ve had issues with some documents from an earlier (Beta) version of Vista. I could not read them after I reinstalled with my Ultimate (64-bit) version due to file access restrictions that couldn’t be fixed with the normal menu-based ownership dialogs.

    Thank you very much :)

  8. bobo

    you do rock! i’ve been having print spooler issues and needed to replace the localspl.dll file but could not do it by takeown alone, but adding the calcsc command, all is good and i’m a very happy man. thanks!

  9. John

    I couldn’t get this to work at first because the command prompt told my i didn’t have permission to give myself permission (or something like that). If this happens to you, right click the command prompt icon and select “Run as Administrator”

  10. Peter

    Great! :D Thanks alot!

  11. Alekhine

    Thanks for the tips.

  12. Teddy

    Thanks for the nice trick.
    I had a bootmgr file on the wrong hd, because I tried to boot after forgetting to connect the boot-hd while fixing something. After reconnecting the pc tried to boot from the wrong hd, wich had no os and a error occured. A rather stuborn problem, wich is now fixed.


  13. Alex hates Vista & Gate

    I will do anything for you. I have been browsing around forums after forums for answers, and TAKEOWN has to be the best.

  14. Peter Hickey

    Installed and, because it doesn’t work in Vista, uninstalled Nero 7. Left with 4 dlls in Nero Backitup folder. Nothing I did, including all of the above, would allow me to delete them. Eventually removed all references to them in the Registry, rebooted, again logged on as Administrator and then was able to delete them.

    Because of backwards compatibilty problems, it looks like it’s going to be a long time before I’d recommend anyone upgrading to Vista, especially from XP Pro.



  15. mike

    Ok Guys…..I really screwed up.(that’s what usually happens when you don’t know what your doing) I was trying to gain access to my entire drive so I could delete temp files/temp internet files etc. So, after reading this post on how to delete system files I used this in the command prompt: [takeown / C:\ f ] afterwhich it said that my-acer had owership….Cool so far….I think. Then I used the cacls command: [cacls C:\ *.* /G my-acer:F] I was asked if I was sure & answered yes,hit return & it said the process was successful. Now I can’t get many things to run at all & if I attempt to use the command line as an admin I get this:”c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe the parameter is incorrect”. I get the same sort of message when I try & run other things. I have to also say that when I login to start windows my name is “ironhorse” & the name of the pc is “my-acer”. A friend told me I need to give full rights to both of these names if I want to delete certain files as their considered administrators(both me of course). I haven’t restarted the machine cause I know it will never restart so I’m trying to get this fixed through the command prompt. I tyred to roll back through system protection but can’t get there either. Am I screwed or is this fixable. I really need the help Big Time,Mike

  16. DaiLaughing

    For deleting folders in Vista (I did the whole of Program Files):

    M:\>icacls “m:\program files” /grant martin:(D,WDAC) /t

    martin is my user name. This grants delete and write rights to all folders, files and sub-folders in Program Files. No need to bother with takeowner as this seems to replace both it and cacls.

    Thanks a LOT for the original tip geek. Very helpful as I had a lot of wasted space on an old system drive which I have started using as a slave.

  17. TYXL

    u can use
    “takeown /f C:\*”
    “cacls C:\* /G USERNAME_HERE:F”

    so u only need to use the command once :)

  18. mike v

    At the command prompt this is what I see: C:\Users\user
    Anything I type brings this response: ERROR: Access is denied.
    This is what needs to be overcome “First”. Sorry, I should have made that clear. Mike
    PS: Thanks for the tips regardless as I may be using these in the future.

  19. mike v

    As there is no appearent answer to this question, what I think I’ll do
    is wipe the drive & reinstall a clean copy of vista and stay away of
    the command line in the future untill I gain more knowledge.
    Thanks to all for the suggestions. Mike

  20. DaiLaughing

    You don’t need to! All the steps are above.

    Press the Start button. Negotiate to the command prompt but don’t click on it. Instead right click on it and Run as Administrator. Now type this:

    M:\>icacls “m:\program files” /grant martin:(D,WDAC) /t

    replacing M:\ with your drive letter and martin with your own user name. If your user name has any spaces put it in quotes like the “program files” is here.

    In XP use cacls instead.

  21. dwlejuez

    Q: I have a big issue with a file that is stuck in my emule incoming file which is a movie that downloaded completely.I cannot play it so I decided to delete it.Bummer…..when I click on it my computer seems to freeze up.HOW do I delete this file in CMD running windows vista?????
    PLS a step by step explanation would be nice. THNX dwlejuez

  22. Karlo

    as a response to wills post i tryed that with a folder on my hdd called system volume information but it told me acces is denied???? i tryed every other option and this one has worked the best so far until it said acces is denied

    Anybody have any answers?

  23. Nefertari

    I purchased My computer and they mistakenly used My sister’s name on the registration I believe (she did the buying for Me.) Anyway, now I have a user\Najee that doesn’t seem to really exist except if I’m doing downloads or if I go to users folder when I access it from Computers in the Start menu. Funny thing is I’m the administrator but in the Computer\Os\User folder, I don’t exist. Just public and Najee. How do I get My account listed in users? How do I get rid of Najee in the list(love her but don’t want My files named with her name)? Once again I repeat, when I go to Manage User Accounts, Najee doesn’t show up.

  24. Kyle G

    Just as an update to this, you can use the wonderful freeware program called “Unlocker”, located here. Just right click the file in question, click the “Unlocker” option in the context menu, then highlight any programs using the file and click Unlock or Unlock All at the bottom of the window, you should then be able to delete the file.

    I used this program a lot with WinXP and an so happy to have just learned it was Vista compatible as well.

    You might need to go ahead and do the Take Ownership step above, I have the registry tweaks added that give me an option in the context menu for this and did that first.

  25. John

    rd /s deletes all files and subfolders regardless of permission. I use the rd with 4nt but the cmd rd should perform the same.

  26. Steven

    I tried deleting the file d3d8.dll.

    The TAKEOWN worked properly, but the cacls after pressing enter to get full control this is what it says : “No mapping between account names and security ID’s was done.”

  27. Jillian

    I was having trouble using these commands to delete programs such as Windows Mail and Windows Sidebar etc. Can anyone help me out with the path to these files? Thanks so much

  28. Alex Maluleke

    I was having a big trouble in using these commands to delete programs such as Windows Vista in my own computer. And i recieved help from this web site, my problem is now solved.Thanks and regards. From South Africa, Johannesburg

  29. Varga

    How to undo this process after I’m finished deleting?

  30. Gasper

    Hi I deleted W. Defender but how can I delete Icon in control panel?

  31. Doug

    I took control of my entire C: drive, and changed only one .dll in the system 32 folder. Now my computer is crazy, and doesn’t have access to anything. I can’t even run the system restore to undo what I did. How do I un-own what I took ownership of? Do I just do the same thing as above but say TrustedInstaller instead of my user name???

  32. OmegaWolf747

    I wouldn’t delete the Sidebar and Windows Mail. Just disable the services if you don’t want them.

  33. vikTHgod

    Wich dll did you change Doug?

  34. lynn

    how do i delete the file named AVG7QT.DAT in command prompt??
    i got that from AVG. i don’t know how to use the command prompt. can you please help me!!!

  35. jordan

    Hi i dont really under stand how to do this as im only a kid.
    Could some one tell me the exsact code to delete all the windows sidebar files on vista thanks

  36. confused

    Somebody please help, the first part was a sucess but after i do the ”cacls C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui /G geek:F” part it says Cacles is now deprecated please use Icacls.. and this it has around 15 line of some next thing…

  37. eaybdb

    when i try and take ownership of the file, it comes up with the error bthat the file can’t be found. anyway of deleting a .lnk shortcut when it isnt actually there!!

  38. The_Thrustmaster

    thanks for the tips im going to go home and try it…. but knowing vista it will have some kind of crap attack at me cant say im very impressed with vista the concept behind some of its features is well intended but UAC?? if thats not the devils work i dont know what is all i want to do is replace one script that i probably shouldn’t have modified and now i wanna replace it but Vista wont let me if this work i will father your children and i dont think you should be deleting System Volume Information i think thats important

  39. Scott

    I was able to use the commands to take control of the files, but not the folders. System was the only authorized user, administrator status didn’t matter. After the folders were empty then they were next to impossible to remove. However, I created a new user with administrator privileges. I logged on with the new user and was able to move the folders to the desktop of the new user. I then logged off, logged back on to regular userID and then deleted the user I had created. The folders were deleted with the user.

  40. Chris Westfall

    Im using vista ultimate 32bit
    And i think i might have a virus running on my rundll32.exe, is it okay for me to delete it because i thought this is a major part of your computer, and it probably wouldnt run without it…
    if you have any ideas on how to fix this virus, please let me know….Please Help!!!

  41. Chris Westfall

    actually i dont know if its .exe it could be something else, but theres deffinately something wrong with a rundll32 file

  42. Maarten Elshof

    So, how do I give back ownership to the TrustedInstaller after I’m finished replacing files?
    Thnx for any advice

  43. veronika

    THANKS!! Works perfectly.

  44. DaiLaughing

    rundll32 is just a handler for other programs. So if they cause problems the error message will often mention rundll32 but that is not your problem. Four main suggestions for you:

    1) Get antivirus and run it – AVG works very well for me and is free, if it doesn’t find anything then you probably don’t have a virus – just some badly behaved software
    2) Get an anti-spyware scanner and clean your system with it
    3) Uninstall as many programs as possible especially those free utilities, toolbars etc.
    4) Check in msconfig (Start – Run, type msconfig) for the programs starting at boot (Startup tab) and untick anything you don’t like the look of or don’t care about (don’t worry you can go back in there later and put the ticks back one by one if you make a mistake)

  45. Marcos

    hi im trying to delete a Roxio program file and i tried following the steps above with no success. Everytime i press delete it says you need permission to perform this action. They are dll files that im trying to remove. I installed roxio on my computer not realizing it was incompatible. It show up on my add remove programs. When i try doing it this way, it says ‘windows installer service cannot be accessed, this can occur if windows installer in not correctly installed”. Do you guys have any idea what i can do?

  46. jonathan

    hi do it really work because i have upgrade from xp to vista and i have done formet to xp and the windows vista file has stead on my competr and i cannot delete the windows vista file please help!

  47. Marcos

    Hey jonathan have you tried DR. Delete. google it. I managed to delete some hard files that way. Its a free tool

  48. Baran

    i was going to be mad!!! i got some win32 jeefo on some vista files.but they were not running.they were just staying in “system32/bla bla” folder. i tried kaspersky to get rid of them but it was useless.i got both XP and Vista on same computer and kaspersky was just telling me that the files are infected what do i want to do and option is “skip” nothing more.and it was popping up every minute! and it was happening on both vista and xp.than i saw this thread, made a list of infected files, created 2 different bat files for both commands.and run them.after that i pressed “disinfect all” and voila.they were clean as a baby. thank you so much for this info :)

  49. Daniel Jarrett

    Do you know if SP1 for Vista Home Premium has interfeared with the Remote Desktop fix that you helped with. I seem to be having trouble with it now.

    Thank you for any advise,
    Daniel S. Jarrett

  50. Jess

    I just got my vista ultimate laptop today.
    I followed the steps as above.
    I also had the problem of getting to the cacls step.
    It says its depreciated and to use Icacls instead. I did that, following the same syntax and it tells me the filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.

    What should I do?
    I’m trying to patch my uxtheme.dll along with some others to use some themes…


  51. nocash350

    Nothing worked for me. i still receive a message telling me i need permission

  52. Sarah James

    I’ve used the above to delete or modify some files and it worked great – thanks!

    But now I’m stuck with a different problem: I have an folder with empty subfolders. I want to delete the lot, but Vista says ‘Can’t find the item’
    ‘The item no longer exists in this folder. Check the location of the item and try again’.
    Well, I’ve tried again and again. I’ve taken possession of the folder etc., I can even move the folder, but I can’t delete the **** thing.

    Anybody any suggestions? Help is very welcome!


  53. nick


    can I use the same method to get rid of unwanted .lnk files that I cannot seem to get to delete anyother way?

  54. Niels

    Great! i was hoping to find this information for a while :D
    Can’t thank you more!

    Keep up the good work


  55. Jackie


    I’m trying to delete some files in Vista Premium under My Computer > OS: (C:) > Windows

    What do I do? It’s not giving me permission to delete ‘Digital Locker’.


  56. Sasha Black

    OK so I have a .TTF on my desktop that i cannot del for some time now, everytime I tried to del it an error message would come up


    This action con’t be completed because the file is open in another program, close the file and try again! ”

    wtf? I have nothing open and I never even used that .TTF

    Please Help!!!!!

  57. staggasaurarts

    Hi Sasha. In order to do this you must open task manager. Now click the processes tab and see all the things that are taking up RAM. Delete anything that is not needed. You must do this because sometimes when you close apps, they do not stop the process.

  58. Wiggler

    If you are deleting pagefile.sys using this method, once you have done the above, use the following command to delete

    c:\> del -AH c:\pagefile.sys

  59. Ben

    Thanks so much. I was trying to delete mobsync.exe because of its annoying indexing, but i couldn’t. Now i can, thanks

  60. Adam

    Thanks for this piece of information. Now I’ve done patching and I need to restore the permissions back to the TrustInstaller, any ideas?

  61. ThawGauze

    :( i try the takeown, in the two ways, normaly and in safe mode, none is working, i stil can´t overrigth the file mf.dll. :( any ideias????

  62. RyanTheRed

    For some files, it may help to do this as well to perform the deletion.

    1. Get your command prompt ready
    2. Start Task Manager
    3. In the processes tab find and stop explorer.exe. Your taskbar will disappear along with your start menu, etc. at this point.
    4. In the applications tab find the cmd prompt you had open and switch to it.
    5. Use the DEL command to erase the file
    6. In Task manager use the File : New Task command or use your command prompt to restart explorer.exe

    This basically just ensures that if explorer.exe is holding a handle open to the offending file it releases it.

    Be careful my friends

  63. Kikimor

    I tried Vista and didn’t like it much, so I installed XP again… Now I have one 10Gb Windows folder, and I can’t delete it… :)
    Anybody help?

  64. Blakey

    Hi all i got ownership ok but cannot find the file to delete it can someone provide the path or command plz. thanks loads

  65. Blakey

    Sorry i forgot to say it just says could not find c:\pagefile.sys
    but if i type c:\pagefile.sys it trys to run it so is it there or what…heh…thanks

  66. Lance

    Just go download this registry it will do the steps for you, and then you can easily take ownership. I tried the above steps both in safe and regular mode I got the same message as Jess, I still didn’t use Icacls made no sense to me. Ok good luck! A big hello to all my geek freinds from Zakinthos, Greece.

  67. Lance
  68. Lori

    This really worked! I only had to replace the nlasvc.dll file – reboot and the service started immediately and my network had recognition (away with the red X).

    In my case – the lack of network recognition caused my wireless router to fail…it didn’t know who I (well, not me actually but my laptop) was.

    Thank you for all your VERY helpful knowledge.

  69. bhoot007

    Thanks a lot for useful info. I still couldn’t del the pagefile.sys after changing ownership to Administrator, logging in safemode as Administrator. In the end, an old DOS command (used to hide files in old days) came in handy. I checked the file attributes, it was Hidden (h), System (S) and Archived (A). I removed all and then was able to delete.
    to check attributes, remove them and then delete file (called filename.ext):
    C:\attrib filename.ext
    C:\attrib -h -s -a filename.ext
    C:\del filename.ext

  70. jd2066

    @bhoot007: pagefile.sys is an important system file used for virtual memory. It’s not something you should delete.

  71. bhoot007

    Thanks jd2066,
    I should have mentioned I was doing that in order to get the vista volume shrink to work properly as here:

    However, had conveniently forgotten to switch the pagefile.sys mechanism back on… your timely email reminded me and I have set it up again.
    Incidently, I was able to reduce the previously limiting shrink of 273GB to a mere 20GB (combination of running PerfectDisk defrag (system files) and shrink alternatively ( 5 or 6 times).

    Thanks again.

  72. saintee

    urm. i have been trying to gain access to this system32 .dll which my trendmicro, unfortunately, has no way to clean or quarantine. and i have tried all the ways on the net and even thru safe mode, it still pops up a “You need permission to perform this action.”
    Can someone help me with this
    By the way, im using vista home edition

  73. Grizzly

    You’re my hero :) I’ve tried every thing else, but your tip was the only one that worked! On everything except \Boot\-folder… But I can live with that.

  74. Benjie

    What would we ever do withouht you? :)

  75. Benjie

    Oh and i must say thanks because i have managed to get rid of trustedinstaller.exe, now i just have to restart and hope it worked :~

  76. jd2066

    @Benjie: Deleting trustedinstaller.exe is a bad idea. From a quick search, I found that it’s part of the Windows Installer. Windows Update depends on it and probably other programs too.

  77. Windows 7 User

    This works in Windows 7 too

  78. TF373

    Thanks for the information. I’ve done for windows server 2008, but with icacls command instead of cacls.
    C:\ icacls C:\Windows\System32\xxxxxx.exe /grant administrator:D

  79. Val

    Thank you – I love you, I will always look here first now when I have a probelm… PS whats the meaning of life :)

  80. Vitor

    Hi ppl,
    I work in video with Cs4 and after a crash of premiere, i lost my firewire connection.
    Foruns after foruns, help desk, after help desk including microsoft, and toshiba, my conclusion is one, I need delete/restorer 1394 firewire sys file.
    I have a toshiba laptop and run vista enterprise.
    obsiously Vista d’ont permit deletation of any system file.
    what can I do to solve the issue.
    Best regard everybody

  81. nadeem

    I don’t know what to do. Help me? please.

  82. Rae

    I’ve tried the unlocker and it doesn’t work, and apparently using the “cmd” thing I’m an admin but it still isn’t letting me uninstall/delete McAfee. I just want to delete McAfee and it’s telling me I need permission. I went through the security thing and gave myself permission, it still says I need permission. Somebody PLEASE help me.

  83. Dialhaq

    thank you so so much Mr/GEEK \Sestem32\prof.geek

  84. Udinbak

    to mike :- [cacls C:\ *.* /G my-acer:F] should have been [cacls C:\ *.* /G Ironhorse:F]
    my suggestion would be to create a user named my-acer and retry the whole proceedure or at least the takeown part. you should be abe to delete from there. or give permisions to ironhorse and delete from that account

  85. Lee

    bhoot you rock! it was killing me that even notepad could see the file (though not open it) but del wouldn’t. Gone now though. =)

  86. Dialhaq

    Deleting ANY file under ANY windows system even the ones (operating systems) coming after windows vista is possible, but *PREVIOUSLY* you must backup whatever you attempt to delete especially WINDOWS root files.
    To do so! you need a bootabe windows CD/DVD, let us say windows vista dvd,
    then boot your computer from a CD/DVD. Enter the command prompt and write
    del file name and press ENTER.
    to find your file use (dir/p)command to locate the file in the directory
    to copy file use (copy) command, and/or (xcopy /e) for a directory
    write (help) to know moor about DOS commands.

  87. Dialhaq

    Deleting ANY file under ANY windows system even the ones (operating systems) coming after windows vista is possible, but *PREVIOUSLY* you must backup whatever you attempt to delete especially WINDOWS root files.
    To do so! you need a bootabe windows CD/DVD, let us say windows vista dvd,
    then boot your computer from a CD/DVD. Enter the command prompt and write
    (del) {file name} and press ENTER.
    to find your file use (dir/p)command to locate the file in the directory
    to copy file use (copy) command, and/or (xcopy /e) for a directory
    write (help) to know moor about DOS commands.

  88. Vitor

    Tanks for help.
    The problem is around 1394.sys, firewire.
    After a CS4 crash the firewire door never more work.
    Under windows vista you d’ont have permission to reintall any file.
    So, the situation is, or wait for a Vista firewire upgrade, or format computer, or try to install driver again.
    To install driver again,I need delete old one.

    What is the wright thing to do.

    Best Regards

  89. bhoot007

    you are welcome Lee… just keep in mind to a) take back ups regularly and b) restore any system files as windows may not work properly without them :)

  90. John

    Thank you for your insight here. I was able to acquire ownership but when I try to establish control rights, I enter my user name as the previous command listed it, and I get the message “invalid parameter” then my user name in quotes. It shows my user name as nameofcomputer\firstname L(ast initial). Maybe that my username is my first name and last initial confuses the DOS(?) I don’t know but any help here would be much appreciated.

  91. Vagabound

    Thank you! works great

  92. Blubbingman

    Thank you very much!
    But my Vista (it’s a german version) shows that:

    Can you please actualize your article?

  93. ellis cipriano

    thank you very much for this very helpful tip.
    i was able to delete my old windows 7 directory that was giving me trouble ’cause i cant delete it for about a week now. i just recovered that wasted gigs of my hard drive.

    thanks again.

  94. H Pete

    You might want to update your VISTA “cacls” advice on how to delete a file…in VISTA, cacls is no longer…now it’s ICACLS with some other syntax changes such as /grant instead of /G and several other annoying features (!) but it works with takeown…

  95. mon

    good job it’s works

  96. mithun dhar

    I reinstalled vista by after removing old vista. but it has created a windows.old folder which I cannot able to delete it. Can I remove i?

  97. Scott

    Works great thanks!

  98. Soe Lynn

    It works great thanks.

  99. Melanie

    It worked! Once I switched to safe mode, that is. Thank you! Now I just hope that file I removed was actually that adware I’ve been trying to trace down…

  100. niche

    Worked brilliantly, thanks. Also thanks to Alan for the technique with multiple files, saved me the hour or so it would have taken to find that out myself by playing around a bit.

  101. Sam

    I tried the takeown command and it worked when the filepath names contained no spaces. However I am getting errors (I’ve also seen it reported by others) when the filepath name contains spaces. I tried changing the spaces to the wildcard *. The message then was that it could not find the file. How can I resolve this?

  102. chris

    it doesnt work for me :(
    it tells me – ERROR: the system cannot find the file specified
    i know its there and wont let me delete cos i dont have ownership…..anybody help please!!!!!!

  103. Matt

    Thanks, worked brilliantly although I found that I only had to restart the computer normally and not boot into safe mode.

  104. Alain

    Thank you, it worked like charm :)

  105. bic

    after completely owning the file, how DO i delete the system file?? thanks.

  106. Alexvx

    Hi! I am trying to delete a trojan from system32.
    I am trying takeown \f but the system says that the user has no rights for this file.
    What can I do in this case? plz, help me out!

  107. brainz325

    I put an older version of Nero on my windowsxp several years ago. I deleted the file since it wouldn’t work ( outdated Nero). It left two files stuck in the computer. cdrl2k.sys and cdr4_2k.sys Now I get warnings that show up each time I turn tyhe computer on! I used my search engine but never found them to delete them. Anyone have any ideas? I no longer have the cd for Nero since it was on loan. Please contact me at my e-mail if anyone knows how to get rid of this monster?

  108. rsteinhart

    I did this but instead of a specific file, I chose to change everything in the Windows subfolder. I used wild cards for the file name, C:\Windows\*.*

    Thanks for the info.

  109. rsteinhart

    Ignore my last post, it crashed my system. I could not even use the Windows restore feature, I had to use a restore feature that was on my system hidden. I have a sony vaio laptop.

  110. darkbytes


    Your version work a treat, I have spent over 2 months trying to look on different web sites and repeated attempt to delete system locked files.

    Thanks guys

  111. Luunatik09

    i hav exactly the same issue as iwatson but i cant seem to b able to delete the files in C: which is my earlier vista install place now i m using from F: whr i installed a new copy but i cant delete program files & windows folder from c: even after using these commands pls help

  112. Jitu Keshwani

    I’ve tried what has been suggested but still not able to shrink the partition
    After the defragmentation using perfect disk at the end some meta data/MFT block are there, due to which I think I’m not able to shrink

    Please tell what do I do now.

  113. Flash

    HELP!! I did this with the c: drive and now my computer doesn’t let me access or download anything! How can I fix this???

  114. Mr Pickles

    This worked perfectly.. thank you so much, this article rocked. If it weren’t for people like you, the internet wouldn’t be worth fighting for.

  115. ihmoo

    YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  116. ThankSoMuch

    Hey, Thanks! I was about to give up until I found your solution. Worked perfect even on Win 7.

  117. Geraintjo

    Well, I’ve read everything, tried everything but with Iacls I get a message “Invalid parameter ” and it refers to the last entries, andrew/f
    At the command prompt, I do not have just the drive letter but have the followingC:\users\andrew. So I just start icalcs “C:\users\andrew\back\program files”/grant andrew/f
    my objective is to be able to delete the folder Prgram Files
    What am I doing wrong????

  118. Geraintjo

    Sorry guys I should have said ICACLS

  119. Josh

    Someone help me.

    First of all, I’m using Windows 7 32bit. I just reformatted it today from a 64bit program. I’ve been searching the web for awhile for results on how to help me with an issue I’ve been having. I recently tried to do a workaround for the TrustedInstaller that was denying me access to remove a Programs (x86) Folder

    This is what I did in cmd
    “takeown /f C:\”
    “cacls C:\ /G username:F”

    Now I can’t access/edit/move/download anything.

    I don’t have a Restore Point saved. I was wondering if there would be any way to undo this, or grant permission back the way it had been previously. Maybe grant to TustedInstaller, idk?

    When I open up My Computer, Local Disk (C:) now no longer shows how much space is on the hard drive

    Also, almost every single folder I try to use or move results in this pop-up
    “C:\ is not accessible. Access is denied.”

    I also can’t use Windows 7 CD to re-install. I get an error message

    Please post a reply.

  120. Nikhil Bandale

    Thanks a lot! the (takeown and cacls) method worked for me.

  121. TL_Tools

    I have an easy way via
    SHIFT + rightClick on every File.
    with this Registry Entrys:
    copy this and safe to .reg
    thats all…… it works..

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    @=”take it”

    @=”cmd.exe /c takeown /f \”%1\” && icacls \”%1\” /grant administrators:F”
    “IsolatedCommand”=”cmd.exe /c takeown /f \”%1\” && icacls \”%1\” /grant administrators:F”

    @=”take it”

    @=”cmd.exe /c takeown /f \”%1\” /r /d j && icacls \”%1\” /grant administrators:F /t”
    “IsolatedCommand”=”cmd.exe /c takeown /f \”%1\” /r /d j && icacls \”%1\” /grant administrators:F /t”

  122. swc

    yes Mr. geek you indeed rock
    magnifier kept popping up on startup
    tried unlocker 1.8.8 and RegCure
    no go
    but with takeown and cacls it is deleted

  123. Johny

    Hello everyone.. I have a pretty much of a pain in my a*s..I have Windows 7 Ultimate and for few applications i’v tried to install – at the launching there is a side-by-side error.. I found out it is connected with registers.. And also i found out how to solve the problem. I need to delete the following file “C:\WINDOWS\WINXSX\MANIFESTS\” .
    I’v taken ownership of this file. Still – I need a permission from the system. Ok. I used the cacls command ( C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui /G Godfather:F ) and then it asks if i’m sure.. Of course i am – so i typed y. Then it Gently answers – Access denied.. I also tried to delete file in safe mode or do the cacls in safe mode. But still – access denied….I mean.. lol it’s starting to get realllllllly annoying, because at the beginning of the day i started – now is the beginning of the next day.. Can anyone please tell me how can i delete that damn file…. It is really starting to get annoying.
    Sorry for my English.

  124. Johny

    Ok.. Sorry guys.. The problem was in the fact that i didn’t sleep… But I hope you all will enjoy time laughing about me same as i did.. lol

  125. Jason

    Thanks for info :)

  126. torgar

    Hi guys,
    I’m working on virtual Vista machines in many various languages and I needed to delete winload.exe. I succeded in seven different language versions of Vista by using this procedure but it doesn’t work in Italian Windows Vista Enterprise. I’m getting a message “Access denied” (in Italian of course:)) even if I take the ownership of the file. Does anybody knows where the problem could be?

    Thanks a lot

  127. Andy

    This works a treat – thankyou very very much!!

  128. JonLi


  129. Sufian

    Thank you very much mate, you’ve saved my life!!

  130. Mortar

    Thankyou. Got back 8 GB of disk space from old Windows Installation.
    If anyone has problems with these commands, run them with /? to understand these beautiful windows scripting commands and use the various flags that come with them.

    takeown /?
    icacls /?

    Run the commands directly from the drive which contains the folders/files to delete
    Use double quotes (“) around the name if the foler/file names contain spaces.

  131. Joe K

    For those of you still having difficulty, there is another way. Use with caution.

    Download one of the many available Linux distributions with the “Live CD” feature. If you are a newb I’d recommend Ubuntu since at this time it seems to be the most user friendly. Burn a CD or install it on a pen drive. Reboot your machine with the media in it’s drive. You will be given several options. Choose “Try (name of distribution) without making any changes to your computer.” This will run a fully functional Linux OS from system memory and writes nothing to the HD unless you ask it to.
    Don’t choose any of the “Install” options unless you are ready to say goodbye to your windows installation. Once you have a working desktop (a minute or two depending on your hardware) you will be able to navigate to all of the drives and file systems on the machine! You will see all the hidden files and will soon realize your password protected files aren’t nearly as secure as you thought so proceed with extreme caution! Linux also reads HFS/HFS+ files so it can be useful for Mac users as well.

    Be very careful and be 100% sure you know exactly which file you want to alter or delete!!!!! Most Linux distros come with a complete text editing suite, binary editors, etc if you just wish to modify a file.
    Though Linux will be running only from the CD and in RAM, it has complete read/write access to all files and it doesn’t care about any of the data on the drives or who owns it so it will happily and permanently delete anything you ask it to. Remember, a file deleted while using a Live CD is permanent. When you take out the CD and restart Windows, the file is gone for good and you won’t find it hiding in the recycle bin.

    I hope you find this helpful.

  132. Darko

    in step 2 tell me “Access Denied “

  133. Sath

    I just felt that i also have to share my story.

    I had a 2012das4a25136dea folder “or something like that”, that was left by my previous installation or update maybe with windows 7. I had tried mounting the drive in ubuntu 9.04 but still was not able to remove these folders. Then i came across this site. Awesome man! Thanks a lot.

    It even works only with takeown /f \* /R /D N

    To all, thanks a lot again :D

  134. GRAHAM

    I can’t delete some mp4 files that i downloaded. that command prompt doesn’t work for me

  135. Ann

    File Protection work around.

    Sorry, I had no luck with the above… something like “don’t have permission” I’m no tec!

    I booted my Windows 7 pc with Acronis Disk Director, manual mode.
    If you click the c: drive (or whichever) you can edit, copy, delete files etc similar style to explorer.
    After rebooting, I found the files were not replaced.
    I’ve used it now for a few days with no problem.

    It may just be that I’m replacing files and not completely removing them.
    Like XP & Vista & now 7, the Japanese keyboard layout is named incorrectly in the English versions.
    So to use a standard Japanese keyboard, I have to replace KBDJPN.dll (wrong!) with KDB106.dll (correct layout)!

    So far so good.
    This may or may not help anyone but it may just save someone from insanity!

    Acronis saves my life again!

  136. Spike

    I had Vista on my C drive, and Windows 7 on D. I had almost given up trying to remove Vista crap until I came across the solution from ALAN in 2007. I hope my message of thanks will reach him after 3 years, for I am truly grateful. The fact that I have to wade through three years of subsequent question and answer to hopefully give him this message brings me to another point. It is just wonderful that people with problems end up in a forum like this, and find others who give freely of their time and expertise without reward or really knowing who they are helping, or how that help is received. I echo the comments of SATH, and say to all of you generous people, and to this fantastic site,



  137. achienz_88

    thx very much…. my problem has been solved..

  138. Doug C.

    The current version of Unlocker doesn’t work with Win7 64-bit. It only works with the 32-bit version. I’ve read in a couple of places that there will be a 64-bit coming out soon.

  139. jos7886

    Thanks you geeks. I thought I’d be stuck with a cluster f*** of uselessness from an old windows install.

  140. josh



  141. doofus

    thanx alan! your method was MUCH better than the GEEK’s…looks like the geek is STILL a geek.

  142. Capt. Noobcake

    Hey anyone! Plz help! Im running on a toshiba satellite L505D laptop Vista 32-bit SP2 and heres my problem. I recently contracted a virus that attached itself to a file located in this path: C:\windows\system32\drivers\volmgr.sys I managed to find out how to delete that file (volmgr.sys) but that was a very bad thing to do! Now whenever i try to start windows, i get a blue screen of death and it loops indefinately. I did some searching on google (on a different computer) to resolve the problem and what i got was to download a vista recovery disk iso and burn to a cd and to boot from that at startup. I proceeded to do that and to bring up the command console to manually replace that volmgr.sys file from the vista recovery cd archive. But what the commands to use to replace that system file????????? DOES ANYBODY KNOW!? Please help me………

  143. MrM

    1. Start > Run > type “cmd” (With no quotes)
    2. Type: takeown /F “C:\Program Files (x86)” /R /D y
    2a. Hit enter to run the command, then when it finishes, continue with step 3.
    3. Type: icacls “C:\Program Files (x86)” /grant Administrators:F /t
    3a. Hit enter again. When the command finishes you can close command prompt.

    That’ll grant you full permission of the directory and you can delete it at your leisure. You can also replace “C:\Program Files (x86)” for any other directory that happens to give you bother.
    Of course it goes without saying that you should use this only on files/folders you know windows definitely isn’t using, because these commands could theoretically stop windows from being able to access folders it needs to.

    Good luck “

  144. anton

    legend – adding [ClassInstall32] to the .inf file worked!!!! you saved me a shit load of trouble!

  145. djmenson

    awesome, worked great. thank you

  146. rjulios234

    worked great! thanks a lot! =D

  147. edd

    can anybody help me to delete unwanted user account in windows 7 starter package, am really having hard time deleting it. thanx in advance

  148. Abhay

    i was trying to make changes in C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts but i could not add a single line, can any one please tell me how i can make changes in this file.


  149. indira

    hi… i am using windows 7 os.. while i working suddenly i got “system volume information and recycler bin “folders simultaneousely..i cant able to delete can u give solutions for this…

  150. Shane Cauley

    Thank you so much for this helpful hint!!!

    Cauley Wyoming

  151. john

    THANKS… :,) sorry for the caps i been looking for something like this i was able to do take ownership and give everybody permits on a simpler faster way than the registry hack you saved my hour fo manual work thanks again :P

  152. Tonberry

    Thank you very much!
    This helped me a lot, I almost shot myself due to the frustration I had with Win7 and not giving me, the ADMINISTRATOR permission to do what I wanted.

    Too bad we are forced to use operative systems like this nowadays.

  153. hoang

    NICE!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!

  154. Inirji

    Thanks for the how to, but what alan said in the comments worked perfectly for me.

    Thanks a whole bunch guys!

  155. joe

    hello, your cacls suggestion was what i needed. thank you! i was all over the net trying to figure this one out.

    my problem was restoring a user’s backup, and then deleting it after we found what we needed. she had her docs and sets in the backup, including the hidden “application data” folder. drilling down, the problem file was a quick launch “internet explorer.lnk” file.

    we restored the backup on an english 2003 server.

    however, her computer is in chinese, so the link name has chinese characters, which made it hard to CLI on the english server. i couldn’t remove the S and R attributes, and a few softwares promising to delete the file on reboot didn’t work.

    your cacls advise was what i needed. then i could delete the file. i believe the trustedinstaller service was my opponent on this one.

    thanks for your help!

  156. silvy

    I was trying to reinstall my vista black edition.But by mistake i installed another vista and now i have got two operating system in different drive.Now I want to delete the newly installed vista but i can not format the drive containing it coz it has got GB files in it.Accessing the previous Vista black can I use this deleting system files process to delete the other operating system?

  157. Onaka

    Thanks, used this to move windows media player’s executables out of the default directory. No more windows media player annoyances and hidden windows playing music and sounds without any choice but to look through the task manager and end the wmplayer process!

  158. sam

    can u pls help me on how to make system file about biodata

  159. Elizabeth

    I have a problem!!!! I downloaded Easy Resume Creator Pro and want to delet it. I have deleted the program files and every other file I can find thats associated with it….. But i missed something somewhere!!! Everytime I start up my lap top it always tries to automatically locate the file and start the program (which doesn’t exist) so I get an error message. How do I get rid of it!!! (without having to re-install Vista)


  160. Raf

    How can i delete services.exe & smss.exe? inside C > System Volume Information > Microsoft. Im already inside the folder but i cant delete the files using Delete key.

  161. ronymaxwell

    I had a couple of out of date Adobe Flash files in a back up folder which I could not get rid of. They had been highlighted as a security risk because they could not be updated. This did the job, and I had tried so many things beforehand, even re-installing Vista. This may have been meant for system files but it works for third party files as well. I am so pleased I found this site. Thank you!

  162. charles

    thanks a lot man!!!

  163. Sam

    I have a problem, I’m trying to edit some system files of a computer game, but I keep an error message. This is what I put it:

    takeown /f C:\Program Files (x86)\Universal Interactive\Blue Tongue Software\Jurassic Park Operation Genesis\JPOG\Data\weather.ini

    and the message I get is:
    ERROR: Invalid argument/options – ‘Files’ –
    Type “TAKEOWN /?” for usage.

    Can anyone help me, I’d be greatly appreciative. Running 64 bit windows 7.

  164. Josh

    Thanks, my winload.exe was corrupt so i had to copy it from another istallation and had no rights to it. I did have a registry hack that I thought would allow me to take ownership of system32 files but M$ apperently has some security built in to prevent my method :)

  165. vimoj

    my system had crashed, and after a reboot, I get the message at startup, and every time I try to switch on any program like media player (except antivirus, office ) : ” This application has failed to start because winmm.dll was not found. Re-installing the application may fix this problem”

    I cannot use any software due to this. I found the winmm.dll find in the system32 folder. Dont know how to proceed?

    should I replace this file with any copy or are there any alternatives, I used the above suggestion to gain ownership.. what’s next?

  166. Jin

    hmm… It didn’t work for me even in safe mode

  167. Aaron

    I was unable to delete files on a 2nd internal drive (access denied).

    files like:

    This happened even after a fresh Vista install on the other drive.

    This fixed it!! Thank you!

  168. Matti

    Old post I know but I’ve had this problem on several of my removeable HDs and just now I finally managed to remove the ‘System Volume Information’ folder:


    Right click desktop and click [New->Shortcut]
    Write: cmd.exe

    Click [Next] then [Finish]

    Right click the cmd.exe icon and click ‘Run As Administrator”
    Now select the external hard drive (F: in my case)


    Now do the following (you can copy paste):
    F:\>attrib -s -h /S /D
    F:\>attrib -r /S /D
    F:\>rd “System Volume Information” /S
    System Volume Information, Are you sure (Y/N)? y

    And you’re DONE ;-)

  169. ram

    thanks for the tip “GEEK”

  170. euhiemf

    umm, This does not work!!!!!!!!!!!!

    takeown /f /d C:\Windows\System32\sethc.exe
    cacls C:\Windows\System32\sethc.exe /G richard:F
    copy /b cmd.exe sethc.exe

    thank you!

  171. PPT

    MRM on June 28th worked for me.. I think that’s the best one I saw for multiple files at once.

  172. PPT

    edit* Their post on June 8th… above.

  173. Warlock

    That is awesome!! I’ve been looking for a week on how to get permission on some dll files in Windows 7 64bit so i can change logon screen, this is the only website i found. I will put this website in my favorites.

  174. Oliver

    When running ‘Start->All Programs->Accessories->Command prompt’
    Make sure you right click and select ‘Run as Administrator’

    Else you will not have permission to change ownership

  175. Tian

    For those wondering how to undo the takeown operation, you can’t afaik.


    to get the file you modified working again, you can right click -> properties -> and add the following users (in win 7):

    Users with normal permissions (read/execute)
    Administrators with full control
    and SYSTEM with full control

    In win vista, I think you need to add TrustedInstaller as well, but I’m primarily a linux user myself so I don’t know for sure. Speaking of which, everything is just so much easier and logical in Linux, but I have to use Windows for a project. Sigh.

  176. Rhaveen

    I can’t do it

  177. Sahil Malhotra

    I am not able to delete the folder of antivirus which is in C folder under program files in window7.
    Sir i want to delete that folder but then it shows message “you required permision from administrator”
    then it not to be deleted. I do lots of things but can’t succesful. give me some better option to delete this folder in simple manner.

    Sahil Malhotra

  178. reclop

    can you delete multiple folders?

  179. juantonamo

    do you need the system 32 files?

  180. Ashish Kumar Patel : the krazzy !T'ian..!!

    thank u so much
    i hd difficulty to delete a access denied folder
    u soved my problem thanks a lot

  181. mike

    None of these work for me on the thumbcache files even if I close the Explorer process (at least without rebooting maybe which is the point.) @ DailLaughing — drive letters aren’t recognised as commands here. MrM’s suggestion looks as if it’s working but I still get the permissions error. I’m off to look for a utility and make life simple.

  182. iby

    same here, nothing has worked so far. i’m thinking about downloading some Linux live CD and try that out. win blows…

  183. Taylor

    Hey Guys I have an issue and i’ve been fighting it for over 3 hours now… I’m working on Windows 7 Ultimate and i’ve gotten the first part to work where I own the file and yet can’t do anything. when I go into either cacls it says to use Icacls which is fine and I do, yet it tells me /G is an invalid perameter, what do I do now because I need to get rid of this file to stop an error that keeps crashing this system, and quickly coming to my end.

    Any and all help is warmly welcomed and thanked.

    P.S. I love this site!! <3 Sorry just had to show my love! XD

  184. Aaron

    Umm… Has anyone else gotten “‘takedown’ is not recognized as a internal or external command, operable program or batch file.”?

  185. Frederik

    Wow thank you very much.

    That solved my problem… Some files was absolute must delete to get my Saitek X52 Pro function again….

    A few days of research and research over and over, you made my life easier today.. Thanks! :)

  186. Ismael

    I just downloaded windows 7
    I need to delete windows vista but i don’t know how plz help ?!?

  187. Taylor

    @ Aaron I believe your problem is the command is TAKEOWN and you put in TAKEDOWN I hope this helps, and happy computing! :)

  188. thiyagi

    thanks man..

  189. Reza

    Very useful and perfect, Taaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanx

  190. SP Phil

    Alan, back in May 2007: Your advice has saved the day for me! Thank you thank you, even though you may never see this! I used this info to delete the infamous ThinkPad Button driver that would not allow me to upgrade to Win 7.

    This is what Alan wrote:

    ok, this seemed complicated since i wanted to delete many system files from a previous Vista install on a secondary partition that i was cleaning up. i didn’t want to reformat, so i tried delete and ran into this brick wall.

    the solution that i find much easier for multiple files is the following:
    (assuming you CAN use admin privs) 1)via folder properties go to your security tab.
    2) in the bottom half you have the permissions listed for users, click the Advanced button
    3) now go to the Owner tab, click Edit button (you will be asked for permision if UAC is at default)
    4) change owner to your account and be sure to check the ‘Replace owner on subcontainers and objects’ and click Apply button. this results in all files including system files being switched to your account as owner!
    5)now in the ‘Advanced Security Settings for (your folder)’ you need to edit the permissions: select your account (the one you just used to take ownership) and click Edit button.
    6) you now see the Permissions tab and you need to again select your user account. (ensure that the permission is Full Control) check the lower ‘Replace all existing inheritable permissions…’ box and click Apply.
    You are done! now you can close all the property stuff and just delete your folder. it may still ask for permission, but you now have the needed permissions to delete all contents of the folder.

    hope this solves the problem for anyone that needs to take care of multiple files, obviously it will work for a single file as well.

  191. Jess

    Hi, I have been using windows 7 for the past one yr and recently a windows update caused my laptop to crash causing me to lose all my stuff in my laptop. My laptop was upgraded to windows 7 upon purchase hence my original OS is actually windows vista. Currently, i have retrieved my laptop from the service centre and i have managed to upgrade from vista to windows 7. However, i am facing problems transferring converted shows into my mobile. There’s a prompt stating “action can’t be completed because file is open in another program” I have tried ways likeuninstalling my converter itself, switching off my UAC, running my programs as admin and still it gives me the same prompt.

    I managed to move the files using an unlocker but i find it REALLY inconvenient to be using the unlocker all the time. I did not have this problem even before when i was using windows 7. Does anyone knows of any way i can permanently take control of the situation without using other programs but just by a simple command of “cut” & “paste”? Pls help thks…^^

  192. randy

    There is a video you can watch on windows 7 website. It explains permissions. It was very handy for me.

  193. PLEASE HELP !!!!!


  194. Prometh

    hi, thanks for this tuto.
    got a question though.
    I tried to reinstall Win7 on C: (that partition had/ still has) Win7. However when I tried to start Win7, it crashed saying something about winload.exe. So I went back to C: (I have another partition on the computer with WinXP.. thanks god.) so I could rename the corrupt Windows folder to “WindowsI” and placed my old Windows folder that was in Windows.Old.
    But now Im trying to delete WindowsI because it takes too much place on the hardrive. How can I delete the whole “WindowsI” folder and its components? I tried with your method and was able to delete winload.exe and the system folder. But System32 wont go nor schemas or ehome and many others. Anyway I can do it in one move?

    Your help is greatly apreciated,

    if of any help, its a Win7Ultimate x86 on an HP Mini110.

  195. Prometh

    Nevermind, finded out how to on another forum, here’s how you do it.
    This is for others with the same problem:
    TO GAIN ACCESS TO DELETE WHOLE FOLDERS, eg. Windows folder and subs.
    opening CMD and typing:

    takeown /f C:\Windows /r /d y
    icacls C:\Windows /grant User:F /t

    where “User” is your user name and has to be and Admin, if you have various admins, type “Administrators”. without quote marks.
    worked beautifull for me, one thing thou, it does take some time if you have many files.


  196. Briana

    Okay, I downloaded a program and then decided that it was making me nervous, so I tried to get rid of it. So, I tried to use the add/remove programs thing, and it gave me the permissions message. My user is the admin, so I wasn’t sure how that could work. But I don’t know what to type in the command prompt because if I search for the actual file location/the program on my computer, it doesn’t show up. The only place I see it is in the add/remove area. So… if I don’t know the location/can’t find it, what do I put in the command prompt? Is there some other way, because I really want this file gone and I can’t find it anywhere on the actual computer.

  197. marcos

    I HAD an old Windows 7 directory that I wished to erase and the steps in this post didn’t worked. I found, though, a video on Youtube that described a no-commandline way to do it, it’s on .

  198. marcos

    I’m on Vista 32 and that windows 7 directory was bugging me for more than a year (ok, sounds weird that i use vista instead of 7, but my vista is original software and the windows 7 wasn’t)… got rid of it with the video above. Thanks for the post, anyway.

  199. Siavash

    thanks, it was very useful, BUT now i need to return the ownership! How can I give the ownership to TrustedInstaller again, so it won’t let me delete it anymore?????

  200. Dharamveer nimiwal

    Thanks a lot,, u ppl r jst great,, I tried ur suggestions and freed up 12 GB space from old windows files,,thanx a lot…God bless You!!!!!!

  201. hitbox

    need help
    basically i’m new to cmd prompts in Windows 7 and I’ve come across a nasty little virus that has corrupted a windows sys file……

    i need to replace it -but trying to put this cacls cmd in -it keeps sayinfg ” first parameter must be a filename :)

    if anyone would be so kindly to type up EXACLTY what i need to type up
    I need to delete the file

    at the moment i am putting

    cacls /grant “c:\windows\system32\drivers\classpnp.sys” /g Gazzer-PC\Owner

    any help would be appreciated :)
    email me asap :)

  202. Lasassin

    Finally got rid of that annoying Internet Explorer folder in my Program Files, take that, Microsoft :D

  203. Jarek

    Windows is making us idiots :) Thanks to help to fight against it.

  204. tee-jay

    wah this cool

  205. Aung Naing Soe

    Good thing
    thanks a lot
    i wanna crash windows7

  206. CodeMan

    Thank very much

  207. Joplrw10

    Used takeown on my C:\ drive. My computer went nuts. I can’t run nearly anything anymore and I am getting file not found or permission not granted for a lot. I have no idea what to do. I can’t do a system restore. Can I give the files back to TrustedInstaller? PLEASE HELP! I can’t even update my drivers so I can get a new HD installed for a new Operating system.

  208. felix

    i did all this on C:\Windows\System32\config\systemprofile to try accec a folder called Blue Coat im still getting acces denied and i tried usind hidden admin and it still doesnt work
    (Blue coat is for the det proxy on my school laptop im in grade 9 sofar hacked admin rights and unblocked internet but this is stumping me any hep please?

    thanks in advance

  209. aabhiful

    right click on cmd and click on run as administrator and then simply locate your file and then simply delete it with ‘del’ command…….

  210. frazer

    Is there a video?
    do i copy and past them examples into the cmd program?
    I dont know what do do?


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