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Deleted files on flash drive just keep coming back

by anawanahuanana / September 17, 2009 8:16 PM PDT

Hi. I recently re-installed XP on my desktop pc and applied all the updates (service packs etc). Ever since then I am unable to delete files off a flash drive I use (TDK Trans-It. No write protect switch). They initially disappear, but the drive is still full, and after a few seconds they reappear on the drive in windows explorer. If I delete them off using my laptop (Vista ultimate) they stay deleted, and the problem didn't occur before I formatted and reinstalled XP, so it must be a setting somewhere, but I can't find it! System restore is only monitoring my 2 main HDDs, so don't think it's that.
Any help would be hugely appreciated.

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Re: deleted files reappear
by Kees Bakker / September 17, 2009 8:36 PM PDT

System restore doesn't monitor user files, so that's useless anyway.

If it works correctly on another machine and not on this one, it's a mystery. I don't know of any setting.

Things to try:
- Keep shift pressed while pressing delete. That circumvents the recycle bin.
- Delete in a command window (the commands you've got to master are (1) going to another drive, (2) cd to another folder, if necessary, (3) del to delete the file). What happens now?


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Thanks Kees
by anawanahuanana / September 18, 2009 2:33 PM PDT

Tried pressing the shift key while deleting. No good. Also I've noticed that if I delete the file (.avi) I close down explorer. When I reopen explorer the file is back again, but when I try to delete it again I am unable as it says the file is in use, even though I isn't. I have to remove the flash drive and reinsert it, then I can delete the file (for all of 10 seconds!).

I'm not a total newbie but I'm having trouble deleting through command prompt. I have navigated to the drive and have all the files showing. They are in a format like this:

18/09/2009 07:48PM 503,330,816 How a Choir Works.avi

Now I've tried typing "del How a Choir Works.avi" and it says "could not find H:\How"
I then tried "del 503,330,816 etc etc etc" but got the message "could not find H:\503".

I've also tried typing del and the whole line of text, including the date and everything, exactly as it is shown, but still no joy. Can you please advise me as to what exactly I need to type to delete it? Google is no real help!
Thanks again.

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Re: del command
by Kees Bakker / September 18, 2009 9:18 PM PDT
In reply to: Thanks Kees

When Microsoft invented long filenames (for Windows 95, that's 15 years ago) they introduced the use of quotes around filenames that didn't adhere to the old MS DOS naming conventions (like having a space in the name).

So try
del "this is long filename with spaces.avi"
with quotes.

To see what program has a file open, use Process Explorer or Handle from


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OK, so I gave that a go......
by anawanahuanana / September 18, 2009 9:32 PM PDT
In reply to: Re: del command

The first time I asked it to delete a file and hit Enter, it just gave me a new H:\ prompt and the the file remained on the drive. I tried again with the same file and now I get "Access is denied".

Any ideas?

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Time for harder measures.
by Kees Bakker / September 18, 2009 9:55 PM PDT

1. Format the stick and try again (this will delete everything, so better copy everything you don't want to lose to your hard disk!).
2. Try it in Safe Mode. Most malware doesn't run then (some, however, does even then).


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Format complete
by anawanahuanana / September 19, 2009 12:28 AM PDT

So I've formatted the drive, and that clears all the files off, as expected. However once I add a new file onto it, the problem starts all over again. I've tried lots of different files too, and it's always the same.

Tried to delete in safe mode too, but still the same.

The plot thickens though. I can successfully delete mp3, jpeg and pdf files with no problems. It's only avi files that are the issue. I think there must be a clue in the fact that once I have deleted the avi and it has reappeared on the drive, I am unable to delete it again until I remove the drive and then plug it back in again, as the computer says the file is in use. Also, when I try to format the drive, I have to get the format box up (right click and select format on the drive in windows explorer) and then keep this box open while unplugging the drive and plugging it back in again. Then I can format. If I try after a file has reappeared on the drive (after a normal delete) it says windows is unable to format the drive. If you know what I mean!
Cheers Happy

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Now download ...
by Kees Bakker / September 19, 2009 1:20 AM PDT
In reply to: Format complete

Process Explorer or Handle from sysinternals (a Microsoft dept, so fully to be trusted) and see what program uses that file.


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Process Explorer downloaded
by anawanahuanana / September 19, 2009 9:55 AM PDT
In reply to: Now download ...

(not that I really know what to do with it!). When I search for the file on the flash drive I choose to delete, it shows me 6 entries. These are all the same (explorer.exe 1764 Handle H:\Mock The Week.avi). All 6 are identical. When I click on one of them, I get anhuge amount of info in the lower pane, but I have no idea what it all means!
I tried deleting the file the usual way, but before pressing to confirm the delete I closed the explorer window down. I didn't get a message then that the file was in use, but it still came back next time I opened explorer.

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I also tried....
by anawanahuanana / September 19, 2009 10:01 AM PDT

after hitting Google (now I know it's only avi files that are the problem) deleting an InProcServer32 key to do with shmedia.dll. Followed the instruictions to delete this, but still the problem remains!

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Try Unlocker..
by dkcreat / September 30, 2009 11:24 AM PDT
In reply to: I also tried....

I search internet and found some similar info as of yours and about shmedia.dll

What I got is that somehow Explorer.exe locks up the .avi files if it can't "display" it in its sidebar or can't make an thumbnail of it.

So try Unlocker(available in, which can help you, as the name suggest, unlock the file or folder so it can be moved, deleted, or renamed.

OR Check these question,(these comes in my mind when Windows goes naughty.)

#Are you installing a pirated/back-up of Original WinXP?
-If you are then, be warned that it's likely be contaminated by some malware/virus.
-If not, then try to do a system files integrity check through 'System File Checker"( (How-to:

#Do you use a proper Antivirus, Antispyware and a good Antimalware?
-I suggest, at least have Avast, Avg or Avira for Antivirus needs, Malwarebyte as Antimalware and Free edition of PCTools Spyware Doctor (comes with google pack)

#If you are using an Antivirus ~Have you run a Full system scan with latest virus definition updates?
-I would also suggest try an free online virus scanner (I use Kaspersky/F-secure online scanner)

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Same Problem!
by noyoureshmoopy / October 6, 2009 1:26 AM PDT
In reply to: Try Unlocker..

I am having nearly the *exact* same problem as anawanahuanana.

I frequently download TV shows usually in .avi format to the folder "/My Documents /Documents". After this I either move them to a backup drive or watch and delete them. I sometimes also copy them to an SD card so I can watch them on my TV.

Well, after I move or delete a folder it disappears for a few seconds then comes back. If I close windows explorer and reopen, it's still there. If I double-click the file and try to open it, VLC player basically says it doesn't exist. So it's like it's deleted, but that file name won't go away. But after a REBOOT, they're gone. Pretty annoying.

A bigger problem is my SD card. It has the same problem except it's much harder to get the files to disappear, because I don't know how to trick it into "rebooting". I have even formatted a couple times to get rid of the "ghost" files.

In my /My Documents/Downloads folder, no other file formats have this problem.

I run Avast and Advanced System Care often and take care of my computer. I am almost positive this is not a virus. I have looked through my start up and task managers thoroughly and don't see anything that could be causing a problem.

Can anybody think of why this happening?

Anawanahuanana: Did you ever fix it? What did you do?

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