Windows Legacy OS forum

General discussion

Files in XP that I can't delete

by Robert50000 / January 5, 2009 2:23 AM PST

I've got four files in my computer that I can't delete. I don't think they're system files or anything like that. They are in the program files section in windows explorer in folders labled Adobe(2) and Adobe(3). And there are two files in each folder that I can't delete.

I've tried several methods starting with simply deleting the files from windows explorer.

That didn't work, so I uninstalled all the Adobe programs I had (Adobe reader and Flash player). Then I tried to delete the files from windows explorer again with no Adobe programs installed. Still no luck.

So I opened the dos command prompt window and found the files with the command prompt. I tried to delete them with del *.* but still no luck.

I tried the same thing in safe mode and still no luck. What's up with these files and how can I delete them?


Post a reply
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Files in XP that I can't delete
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Files in XP that I can't delete
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
File names?
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / January 5, 2009 4:14 AM PST

Just to be sure, these files are in C:\Program files\Adobe(1) and C:\Program files\Adobe(2), where Adobe(1) and Adobe(2) are folders.

Is that right?

If so, what are the file names?

Are there any other files in those folders? If not, what happens if you attempt to delete the folders themselves?

If you check the Properties of those folders and files, (right click each, select Properties), are their attributes set as Read Only? If so, can you change those attributes and remove the Read Only settings?

If all else fails, you could try a utility called MoveOnBoot, from MajorGeeks;

That will let you select the files, (and/or the folders), and the next time you start the computer, MoveOnBoot will attempt to delete them. Be careful though. MoveOnBoot is a very powerful utility, and will delete anything you select, even if you did not mean to select it.


Collapse -
File names
by Robert50000 / January 5, 2009 5:52 AM PST
In reply to: File names?

Hi Mark. Thanks for your response.

I must not have explained myself well. There are three Adobe folders in the program files section. Adobe, Adobe(2), and Adobe(3). The Adobe folder contains the acrobat reader (version 9) and other adobe programs. Adobe(2) and Adobe(3) are empty except for two files in each one (total of four) that can't be deleted.

The file paths are as follows


I clicked on properties and they are read only, and I get an error message when I try to change them.

When that failed, I tried the move on boot program, but surprisingly no luck there either. I thought that would get them for sure. I tried it a couple of times to make sure I was using it correctly.


Collapse -
Generally this happens when the files are in use
by Steven Haninger / January 5, 2009 5:59 AM PST
In reply to: File names

or you have no permission to alter them. You might try taking ownership of the folders they are in and setting to automatically apply these settings to child objects.

Collapse -
That sounds like a good idea Steven.
by Robert50000 / January 5, 2009 9:19 AM PST

How would I do that? The operating system is Windows XP.

Collapse -
Who is this other administrator?
by Robert50000 / January 5, 2009 10:39 AM PST

Wow! That worked Stephen! It gave a feeling of sweet satisfaction and accompllishment to finally see those two folders in my recycle bin.

You receive the coveted Einstein award.

That's the most I've ever dug into my computer though.

I couldn't delete the files because I didn't have ownership of them. But that's crazy because it's my computer, I'm the only user, and I should own everything in it.

Any ideas what happened or what's going on?

When I got to the properties of the files in safe mode, it said that "System" had full control of the files, and that the files were owned by a plural of me, and that there was more than one administrator. I thought I was the only administrator.

In my computer, my user name is Roger, and I have administrative status. And in the general section of the properties window my name was listed, but only read and execute activites were allowed.

When I clicked on the securities tab, my name was again listed, but a plural of me was also listed. Administrators (Roger\Administrators) as opposed to Administrator (Roger\Administrator)

And the plural me was listed as having control of the file.

And when I started the computer in safe mode, I had a choice of loging on as one of two users. Roger and "Administrator"

Who is this other administrator?


Collapse -
There are administrators and there is
by Steven Haninger / January 5, 2009 7:59 PM PST

"The" administrator...whoever that it. It's a default admin account that first allows other administrators to be created. Sometimes, however, files become "system" owned and even "the" administrator doesn't get full control of these but can assign itself as owner and take control anyway. But I'm anything but a guru and I still don't fully understand why certain things happen due to ownership rights.

Collapse -
That's normal, and good!
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / January 5, 2009 8:03 PM PST

Well done for sorting it out.

And the fact that you have two Admin accounts is good news. The other one is hidden from normal view and is only displayed on the Welcome Screen in Safe Mode, but if you use Windows Explorer, (eg My Computer and expand the C drive), you will see both your profile account and that of the Administrator, under Documents and Settings.

What is it?

When that computer was first shipped to you, or whichever way you received it, it came with a System Administrator account already set up. You needed an initial Administrator account to be able to access the Operating System with full Admin powers. It is always recommended that the first task is to create another Admin account, with the name of your choice, and use that from now on. As soon as that is done, the system Administrator account disappears from normal view. That's a safety precaution.

You won't believe the number of times we see posts from users who have failed to do this, and continue to use the system Administrator account, and then somewhere down the line that account becomes corrupted, and they are stuck. They cannot access the operating system as an Admin. That normally ends in a complete re-install, and starting again.

So, it looks like that was done for you, and it is as well it has been.

I would go one further. I would create a 2nd Admin account, and then when you start the computer each time the Welcome Screen will display, and you select which account to log in under. With a 2nd Admin account you have a fall back if your usual account becomes corrupted, leaving the hidden System Administrator account for dire emergencies.

Nice work, and good luck.


Collapse -
Thanks for your help
by Robert50000 / January 7, 2009 2:41 AM PST

Mark and Steven

Thanks for your help. I've done the same thing to delete a couple of registry keys (after making a backup first of course) and I've got my computer running like it did when it was new five years ago.

You both certianly know your way around in a computer.

Thanks again and happy trails.

Collapse -
Removing Identity H and Identity V
by m32yrs / January 26, 2011 5:01 AM PST

Steve: My name is Chino. I am having the same problem as the gentleman you just helped. Unfortunately I am not the sharpest pencil in the drawer as he seems to be when it comes to computers. How exactly do I take ownership of the folders to set them to automatically apply the settings to child objects? I am running windows XP. Thank you for any help you can provide.

Collapse -
Taking Ownership... Not Steve, But...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / January 26, 2011 5:33 AM PST

Google is a great tool. Click on the link below to see the Google search for "Taking Ownership XP". The first link provided works well for most.

Google Search for "Take Ownership XP"

Hope this helps.


Collapse -
by redbull3 / February 13, 2010 4:05 AM PST

I joined this forum because I am desperate.
I want to delete these 2 files from my computer: Identity-H and Identity-V
Somebody gave me a hard drive with a copy of windows XP on it along with all it's files. I moved some of my own files to that hard drive so I don't want to format it JUST TO GET RID of these 2 files. The person who gave me the hard drive HAS NO CLUE about windows, adobe or any other software or hardware so he cannot give me any info.
Please give me a hint how to ERASE those files and afterwads the folders they are in. NOTHING I'VE FOUND UNTIL NOW WORKS!!! And believe me i've searched all the blogs, forums, etc., tried most of the eraser/deleter/unlocker softwares out there. This is the first time GOOGLE fails me :)) so if there is anyone out there who had a similar problem and solved it somehow whitout formating the hard drive please HELP ME!!!!!!!

Collapse -
Why do you want to delete these files?
by fjord_fox / February 13, 2010 4:58 AM PST
In reply to: Identity-H

I recognized the names of these files and they are important files. On my hard drive, I have them on two programs. One is in Adobe Reader, and one is in "ABBYY FineReader 6.0 Sprint" which came with my Epson All in One unit printer/scanner unit.

My guess is that you have Adobe Reader installed, so the easiest way to delete them would be to open Control Panel, open "Add or Remove Programs", and then uninstall Adobe Reader (and "Spelling Dictionaries Support for Adobe Reader" if that is listed. Do this one first.) That will delete them both?but you will not have Adobe Reader.

There IS an easy way to delete the files, but doing so would make it so Adobe Reader would not work, so it would be pointless to have it on your hard drive, taking up space when you are not able to use it.

To delete them, if you have Windows xp PRO (This does not work in Home Edition...), you can right-click on each file, choose Properties, and then click on the Security tab, click on the checkbox for "Full Control" and then click on OK. Do that for each file. Then try to delete them. Then try to start Adobe Reader and find out it won't work.

Well, I DID just try it, and although it DOES still work, there IS a reason that they are there, so you cannot tell just WHAT they do. In other words, SOMETHING that you may need in the future may be disfunctional because you have deleted those files.

~ Barry

Collapse -
because i don't need them
by redbull3 / February 13, 2010 6:33 AM PST

the drive i have these files is not the one i have my system on. in MY XP i have these files and will keep them (for now). But on this drive i'm stuck with them still because i cannot apply any of your solutions. I cannot take ownership of these files because i don't have the security tab on properties, and from add/remove i can only delete MY files not THESE other ones outside MY SYSTEM

Collapse -
The Live Linux CD solution.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 13, 2010 7:24 AM PST
Collapse -
by redbull3 / February 13, 2010 3:11 PM PST

I will consider your solution
Any other suggestions are welcome

Collapse -
Here is what I do...
by fjord_fox / February 14, 2010 4:54 AM PST

I am sorry, but you did not tell us what kind of Windows XP you have, so I assumed that you have Professional. Then, I meant to say what to do if it is not Pro, but I forgot.

My solution is simple, but it works. I use Acronis Disk Director Suite for this, but maybe you can find another disk partitioning program in CNET downloads for free that works the same.

First, I have made a bootable recovery CD with this disk program on it. I bootup with it and then either double-click on the drive where the file is, or I can right-click and choose "Explore". That opens a file and folder window, like what you see when you install a program. Then I find the file or folder and delete it. In this case, since the folder is protected too, if it is in Adobe Reader, then you would want to delete the entire folder.

I hope that works. If it doesn't try Robert's suggestion. If that doesn't work, ask for more help. Part of troubleshooting is that you have to be willing to try everything until you finally find out what does work. I have never had any problem with my method, though. It works because Windows is not active, and therefore cannot lock it.

~ Barry

Collapse -
by redbull3 / February 14, 2010 12:37 PM PST
In reply to: Here is what I do...

i tried with powerquest but didnt work. i will try this hope this will. thanks again

Popular Forums
Computer Help 49,613 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,349 discussions
Laptops 19,436 discussions
Security 30,426 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 20,308 discussions
Windows 10 360 discussions
Phones 15,802 discussions
Windows 7 7,351 discussions
Networking & Wireless 14,641 discussions

CNET Holiday Gift Guide

Looking for great gifts under $100?

Trendy tech gifts don't require a hefty price tag. Choose from these CNET-recommended useful and high-quality gadgets.