Can't delete W7 folder after downgrade to XP

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April 6, 2010 at 06:49:19
Specs: Windows XP
I recently downgraded from Windows 7 Professional to
Windows XP using the Windows.old folder still stored
after a custom installation. Everything worked fine,
however I am unable to remove the Win7 folder which
is taking up around 13gb on my HD. Basically it's just
a regular "Cannot delete file. Access Denied" which I
assume in most cases means the file is being used by
another process. I get this message for a number of
files in the Win7 folder and am unable to delete it.
How can it's files still be used if I'm now running XP
and is there any way to force delete these files???

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April 6, 2010 at 07:03:05
It depends on how you installed Windows XP. There may well be some files in the Windows 7 folder that are being used by Windows XP.

The quickest way to delete stubborn files it to boot into safe mode and do it there. Failing the boot from a CD and delete them without Windows running but depending on the files that could prevent Windows XP from running.

What is the name of these files that cannot be deleted?


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April 6, 2010 at 20:16:21
Theres actually quite a few that stop me from deleting Win7 but
most of them are dll's, mui's and exe's.

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April 6, 2010 at 20:22:37
Were you using a password for your user in Windows 7?

If so, you may not be able to do anything with the Windows 7 files, unless you "Take Ownership " of them.
However, I don't know if you can do that with what's built into XP, regarding files made with Windows 7 - you will need an XP CD.

How to take ownership of a file or folder in Windows XP

NOTE: you probably have to reboot the computer before the settings you change actually take effect!

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Related Solutions

April 12, 2010 at 01:34:03
I've tried taking ownership of the files and folders, I've tried
programs like MoveonBoot and Unlocker, but none of them work.
Any other options?? Is there any way to delete the files from safe
mode (not to do with taking ownership) ??

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April 12, 2010 at 05:19:36
Not sure why you would go back from 7 to XP, but the surest way would be to completely format the drive clean and reload XP from scratch. Other than that, boot to the XP CD or a Live Linux CD and delete from outside of windows, but as above, you might have a nonworking system and have to try repairing or reinstalling anyway.

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June 15, 2010 at 20:44:58
I had the same problem, this is how I resolved it.
Download the Hirens Boot Cd and boot into the mini xp. Once there, browse the wintools folder and run unlocker from there. Then try to delete the windows7 folder from windows explorer, it will fail of course, then unlocker will pop up, choose delete from there, and then WAIT at least 15 minutes. It will take a while, but it will delete the entire folder.
My scenario was a little different, I pulled a drive with windows7 on it and put it into another machine, wanting to just delete the windows 7 folder before downgrading to XP. It was a large drive and I didn't want to have to copy all the stuff somewhere else or format and lose it.

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