Can Not Delete File in NTFS


Paul Swiatocha

I am having some trouble deleteing 3 files and the
directories they are contained in. I am using NTFS. When I
try to delete the file, the system just beeps. The file is
not deleted, and there are no errors generated. When I try
to delete the directory the file is contained in, I
get "Error Deleting File or Folder: Cannot delete
(filename): Cannot fild the specified file. Make sure you
specify the correct path and filename."

I tried rebooting.
I tried CHKDSK /F.
I tried using handle.exe to see if any processes were
using the file, and none were.
Any ideas?

Phil Barila

Toni Fontenele said:


I post a lot of messages here, in the past, about a problem like yours and
until now
I did not fin any solution. Here, is my discovers about it:

We have two Windows 2000 Servers with SP3. One of them are presenting a
well-known message, when we try to delete a folder: "Error Deleting File or
Folder. Cannot delete "folder": There has been a sharing violation. The
source or destination file may be in use."

I made a research through Newsgroups around the Internet and I found that
explorer.exe is locking that folder. People outhere tell us to restart
Windows and delete the folder, after logon. It works but it is very boring
to restart the computer every time we have a locked file or folder.

As an workaround to prevent a restart, I found a great free utility called
WhoLockMe ( for Win2K. WhoLockMe is a
little extension for your Microsoft Explorer. It permeets you to list all
the process locking your selected file. So I started to use it to unlock any
folder handled by explorer.exe, just killing its process.

If you really just want to kill explorer, you can use task manager.

However, you don't really need to kill explorer. has a nifty program called Process Explorer.
You can search it for a specific handle, then force the handle closed. Do
this only with files, and only if you have to. I've found that if I have an
open handle due to having opened a folder, if I navigate to someplace else,
explorer will often close the handle, and I don't need to force it closed.

Philip D. Barila Windows DDK MVP
Seagate Technology, LLC
(720) 684-1842
As if I need to say it: Not speaking for Seagate.
E-mail address is pointed at a domain squatter. Use reply-to instead.

Matt Hargraves

That's not it. His problem has nothing (I mean NOTHING)
to do with file locking. I know this because I am having
the exact same issue, only it's more than just a problem
deleting the files, it's anything to do with the files.

We have several users who have files that are becoming
unusable, the only way to do anything with the files
actually involves the system account. Images can generate
thumbnails, the system can move the files when we change
the location of the redirected My Documents directory, the
files can be backed up and restored.

This is a file system issue though and it is directly
related to the Pre-SP3 and SP3 file system changes, as any
system that has Pre-SP3 or later hotfixes/service packs
will not allow you to open those files. I have tried to
restore the files in question (from backups 8 months ago
that we KNOW were working because we used the files just 6
months ago in a presentation) and every time we restore
the files to a system running SP3 or the Pre-SP3 hotfixes,
the file is unaccessable.

Every unaccessable file has 1 thing in common. When you
open up the properties, even as administrator or another
user with Full Control, there is no security tab. To make
sure that I wasn't having a security issue, I used the
cacls command to reassign permissions on the files and,
while I could use the cacls command to confirm that the
permissions had indeed changed, there was no change as to
the usability of the files.

My last resort will be to first restore to a Windows 2000
box without SP3 or any SP3 hotfixes installed, then try to
restore to a Fat32 partition. If none of those work,
there will be hell to pay by someone. Fortunately I
wasn't involved in the decision to install internally
untested hotfixes or service packs.



I've been poking about in the MS Knowlege Base the last
few days and ran into this, it might help:

The thing that caught my attention was the section
on "Invalid File Names".

Sorry about the really short line lengths and the URL
wrap, I'm posting from MS web site with a web browser
rather than through a proper Usenet client.

Good luck.


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