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Windows 7: Can't delete a non-system Windows folder (I am owner)

23 Oct 2011   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Can't delete a non-system Windows folder (I am owner)

From another thread:

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by shiggity View Post

Right click + select "Properties"
Security tab
Click "Advanced"
Owner tab
Change owner to yourself
Click "Edit"
Check "Replace owner on subcontainers and objects"
Click OK
I followed these instructions exactly. It took quite a while to apply the new ownership to everything on the drive, and I got "access denied" on a few files with odd names like system colume information\8en8r9figi9t. When it was all finished, I tried to delete an old Windows folder on that drive (not my current system folder--I double-checked) and it started deleting, appeared tp delete a lot of files, then it said You require permission from "user" to make changes to this profile (where "user" is the my actual username.) In other words, it's refusing to delete the file on the grounds that I need permission from myself. FWIW, the file is FXSEXT.ecf. I check "do this for all current items (12200 found)" and click try again, and try again, but it just repeats the same error on that file.

I notice that the folder is read-only. I try to remove that attribute, grant Admin permission when prompted, but it just comes back and says an error occurred applying attributes to the file FSXEXT.ecf, access is denied. I doubt there's anything specil about that file, I suspect it's just the first file in the folder.

Also, this folder now shows up with a tiny padlock icon on it. This is something I haven't seen before.

I did check and I am still the owner of this drive, and I am able to change attributes of and delete other folders on it.

I drilled down to individual files I can't delete and verifued that my application of myself as owner of the drive has completed, I am owner of these files. I need permission from myself to delete them.

I tried turning off Norton Antivirus Autoprotect because a Google search brought up some similar issues with it, but that didn't help.

Any ideas on how I can get rid of the Windows folders on a drive without erasing the whole drive?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Oct 2011   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Hello webgrunt and welcome to Seven Forums.

My usual disclaimer: I'm not an expert at anything. :)

The .ecf file extension is usually associated with Windows Outlook, or WinFax (an Office add-in file from Symantec, which is the company that makes Norton products), or Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. It's possible that the file you're trying to remove is "currently in use by the operating system" and for safety reasons it can't be removed.

The file path is supposed be:


I guess I'm just curious as to why you want to remove it. Is it causing any problems for your machine? Windows 7 is not like XP or even Vista when it comes to file management. Most of the time it's best to leave well enough alone unless there's a specific issue. But if you're absolutely, positively sure you want to delete the file, you may have to resort to using an elevated command prompt. These tutorials may shed some light on the procedure.

warning   Warning
You risk seriously damaging your system so at a minimum I'd recommend creating a restore point, preferably a system image, so you won't be any worse off than you already are.

File - Delete from Command Prompt

Undeletable File - Delete
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Oct 2011   #3
killer bee

windows7 Ultimate SP1 x32bit

My System SpecsSystem Spec

23 Oct 2011   #4

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

My goal was to delete the entire Windows folder on a non-system drive (a drive that was a boot drive once but now is now being used for storage.)

The file I mentioned was an example of a file in that folder. I couldn't delete any of the files from that folder.

It turned out that after dinking around with permissions for long enough, I finally got it to where I could delete that folder. I don't recall exactly which was the last option I tried before I finally gained access.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Can't delete a non-system Windows folder (I am owner)

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