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Windows 7: Remove back up of defunct PC on external HDD

07 Dec 2016   #1
Gadgety

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 
Remove back up of defunct PC on external HDD

Hello,

I've got an external 2TB hard drive. This has partly been used to store back ups of my PCs over the years. I don't need these back ups anymore. Using WinDirStat I can see there are almost 480GB of "unknown" files. How can these files be removed from the exernal drive?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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07 Dec 2016   #2
strollin

W10 Pro desktop, W10 laptop, W10 laptop, W10 Pro tablet (all 64-bit)
 
 

If the only files that are on that drive are the old backups then you could just format the drive and be done with it. If you have other data on there you need to keep then you can simply delete the files from the old backups, just make sure you only delete the backup files.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Dec 2016   #3
Barman58

Windows 10 Pro x64 x2 Windows 10 Enterprise x64, Ubuntu
 
 

You may not be able to see the files on an old drive connected to a new system, due to the NTFS security. once you have a drive letter assigned (not always automatic), go to the root of the drive as an admin user - Right click - select tools and then security, edit the users and add your current user name, give this user full rights to the drive (you can also take ownership if you wish).

This should allow you to see all non hidden or system files - Folder properties give you access to show hidden and system files should the files still not be visible
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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07 Dec 2016   #4
Gadgety

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

Thank you Strollin. I have 1.5GB of other data on there so formatting is not my preferred route. To delete the files from the old back ups, what procedure should I use to find them?

The files are labelled unknown in WinDirStat, and using Windows Explorer they don't show up at all. The reason I know they're there is I wondered how the disk could be full while I had only 1.5GB data on it. That's why I used WinDirStat.

The back ups are not created from this PC.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Dec 2016   #5
Gadgety

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

Barman58, OK, thank you, I'll try that.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Dec 2016   #6
Gadgety

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

OK, so I edited and am now the owner. Under current rights it says I have all rights that are available. The hidden files are still hidden. How do I access folder properties?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Dec 2016   #7
Barman58

Windows 10 Pro x64 x2 Windows 10 Enterprise x64, Ubuntu
 
 

Folder Options - Open

The above link should allow you access to all the options you need ...

Show hidden files - set to on
Hide System Files - set to Off


My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Dec 2016   #8
Barman58

Windows 10 Pro x64 x2 Windows 10 Enterprise x64, Ubuntu
 
 

Folder Options - Open

The above link should allow you access to all the options you need ...

Show hidden files - set to on
Hide System Files - set to Off


My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Dec 2016   #9
DavidE

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Gadgety View Post
Using WinDirStat I can see there are almost 480GB of "unknown" files. How can these files be removed from the exernal drive?
Try Wiztree, it can often show files that WinDirStat lists as unknown.
There is a portable version of Wiztree.
Antibody Software - WizTree finds the files and folders using the most disk space on your hard drive
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Dec 2016   #10
Gadgety

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

Thank you, Barman58.

I clicked on a file and it said "you do not have permission...." clicked again and it opened. A majority, around 325GB are back ups are from my current computer. I removed all but the last one, which is around 9GB. A remaining 155GB of <Unknown> files remained. I found I'd even copied some 77GB of garbage bin files. Removed those. Having removed those, I expected about half of the 155 remaining, but WinDirStat shows 142.5 GB of <Unknown> still remaining. These files still don't show up in Explorer.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Remove back up of defunct PC on external HDD




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