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Windows 7: Trying to delete "Windows.old", driving me nuts!

09 Sep 2010   #1

Win7 Ulitmate x64, XP x86 (Dual Boot)
Trying to delete "Windows.old", driving me nuts!

Not sure which sub-forum to start this thread in, but it looks like this one's the closest. Before resorting to posting this note here, I did a fair bit of googling on the subject and learned that, apparently, I should be able to delete windows.old using the disk cleanup tool. Only problem is, it doesn't do the clean up as the directions describe. It deletes only a small handful of files from the main windows.old folder and leaves all subfolders intact and full of files.

The machine is a Gateway notebook I inherited from my daughter. It was a Vista machine until last week, when I upgraded to Win 7. Back when a major Vista service pack was d/l'd to this machine, it created a backup directory for Windows, called windows.old. I've tried off-and-on for months trying to delete it. It's taking up 11.4 gigs of drive space. I could use the space and I sure don't need this back up directory any more.

I've been through all the security settings regarding that folder, insuring that "administrators", of which I'm one -- or the only one, actually -- and even "administrator" (without the 's') has all necessary permissions in order to delete the folder.

I keep getting a couple of message pop-ups whenever I try to delete it. First is a message that the folder is shared and other people won't be able to access it if I delete it. Only thing is the folder isn't shared, although Windows Explorer shows it to be shared with "Administrator" -- which I figure must be me, right? This message pops up repeatedly during the so-called deletion process. The other message is that it requires admin approval to delete. I click on OK for that one, and soon another one pops up stating the same thing, but this time, instead of an "OK" button, there's a "Try Again" button, and no matter how many times I try again, I don't get anywhere.

So I went inside the folder and selected a couple of files at random. Right-clicked, then Properties, then Security, and set it up so I had all rights. But it didn't matter, I still was unable to delete a single file.

I was thinking the fact that this used to be my daughter's machine is part of the problem. She is not listed as a user anymore, but somehow her user profile was and in some way I don't understand, my user ID was associated with her user profile. This profile was initially preventing me from deleting the "windows.old" directory, even though my account has all administrator privileges. I was getting a pop-up telling me that it required permission from her user profile to delete the folder.

Since I wasn't able to delete my daughter's user profile (there were only two listed -- hers and "default"), I created a new user account, and then from that account I was able to delete her profile. Didn't do any good, though. I still get the same messages when trying to delete the folder, despite my being the administrator and having full control. Yeah, "full control," right. I got your "full control" right here . . .

At this point I feel like cussing and throwing things. Dammit, I just want to delete a folder and I'm the admin on this machine. I want to do anything I want or need to on my machine without having to put up with it telling me I can't! Grrrr . . .

Any ideas how I can delete this blankety-blank folder?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Sep 2010   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 10, Home Clean Install

Lets give this a try
Windows.old Folder - Delete
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Sep 2010   #3
Microsoft MVP

Vista and now 7 in 32 and 64 bit.

Use the built in "Disk cleanup". Make sure you have the option selected in the drop down boxes
My System SpecsSystem Spec

10 Sep 2010   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, Mint 9

Wait, so if you right click on the folder and choose delete, it doesn't work?

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Trying to delete "Windows.old", driving me nuts!

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