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HowTo: Delete Vista Protected Files Under XP!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
* I must preface this with a warning. Don't do this if you feel at ALL uncomfortable doing this type of work. It's not really advanced IMO but for `new to this type` of work it can be a bit overwhelming*

The Problem:


I have multiple Hard Drives and wanted to experience Vista however reading the many troubles others had with Vista and it's, at the time, `not quite there` for gaming reliability I figured I could dual boot XP and Vista without too many troubles.

So far a true story. However, after having some issues with XP I decided I needed to throw a fresh install of XP which in turn killed the Vista Boot Loader rendering my Vista partition/drive unattainable.

OK, no problem I figure, Vista wasn't working out for me gaming wise so lets just stick with the XP for now and remove the Vista installation to free up more disc space.

<INSERT MASSIVE INCORRECT STATEMENT SOUND HERE>

Seems with Vista and it's special file permissions as well BitLocker deleting Vista installation's under XP is pretty much a NO GO situation. Sure, if I had Vista still accessible I could go in and take ownership, ICALS the files and remove them but how to do that when a.) I can't boot to Vista anymore and b.) I would be USING Vista by doing this so I can't quite delete the active OS files running!

I scoured the net and to my surprise most were complaining about this very issue as well some other similar issues and the common consensus on action to be take was to format or re-partition/format and take it on the chin. Blah! That's not going to work for me since I had roughly 10-15 gig of Vista files and 400 gigs of other data and I for one wasn't going to try and back all this up. Knowing OS's well enough as I develop software running in the Windows environments I figured there to be a simpler solution. In fact, there is...

The Solution:

Typically trying to delete Vista files, from a botched install to just a `Get Rid Of It` situation, under XP would give you the dreaded `Access is denied` error.



The issue, as described above, is Vista places some heavy securities on it's files and folders that XP really can't cope with including it's BitLocker system so we first must make the files accessable by taking Ownership.

To do so, Right-Click a file or folder you wish to delete. Select `Properties` and check for the existence of the `Security` tab. If you DO NOT have a `Security` tab showing you have what Windows calls `Simple File Sharing` enabled.

This won't do us ANY good so to remedy this simply go to the `Tools` menu, under the file explorer window your in and choose `Folder Options`.

Once within the `Folder Options` dialog, choose the `View` tab. Once there within the `Advanced Settings` portion of the dialog scroll down until you find the option `Use simple file sharing (Recommended)` option. If this option is Checked, Un-Check and hit OK. If the option is ALREADY checked, yet you still do NOT see a `Security` tab on the Properties of a file or folder; somethings is very wrong with your OS and I'm afraid at this point I can't do anything to help. Consult the net for further instruction on THAT problem first



OK. So we've now removed the `Simple file sharing` option within XP so NOW you should see the `Security` tab upon selecting `Properties` on a file or folder you wish to delete.



Time to stop. Lets look at something quick before moving ahead. See the Attributes section? It's by default `Read-Only` which is how XP see's *any* Vista file before modification. Remember that, we'll come back to it shortly

Ok so the first step is to take Ownership of the file(s) or folder(s) you wish to delete. Easy enough, now that we've removed the dreaded `Simple file sharing` option that's recommended ( lol ).

Select the `Security Tab` and click the `Advanced` button at the bottom. This will place you into another dialog where we do all that's needed to jump this damned hurdle.



As you can see above this dialog lists all the users and group level permissions on the file and/or folder. You can see groups such as Administrators and the like as well the machine name your currently on, in this case my machine named Xanth (yes Piers Anthony fan

Now being any good operator of XP I for KNOW my login is within the Administrators group, so by looking at this image above, I *should* have inheritable rights being in the Administrators group to have FULL CONTROL over these files and/or folders. It unfortunately does not work this way with the Vista files.

What you need to do is a 3 step process from within this dialog.

First you need to take ownership.
Second is to set file level permissions for YOUR logged in User Name
Third, remove any Read-Only flags set to the files and/or folders from Vista you wish to delete.

Simple really, but a pain to figure out which is the reason for this guide!

First. Take Ownership. navigate to the `Owner` tab on the Advanced Security Settings dialog. You'll see again the names of users and groups within the local security configuration of the machine but choose the logged in User Name of the session your in now. In this case, my Username, `Xanth\\Ictinike`. ALSO, check the `Replace owner on subcontainers and objects` box which will recursively set the owner, as the selected user/group that you've chosen, to all files and folders BELOW the one your working on. Very nice since you can get the entire 12 gig of Vista files (in the Windows directory) at once!



Hit the `Apply` button and wait. Another pop-up dialog will display it's progression through the files and may take some time depending on speed of PC as well hard drive speed and access times. There are a TON of files but let it go through the entire lot of them. Once done, hit the `OK` button and navigate backwards, out of dialogs until your back to the file explorer and your file(s) or folder(s) are selected.

Second. Now that we've take taken ownership we next must take full control of the files and/or folders using the same Username. To do this, simple Right-Click again on the file(s) and/or folder(s) and choose `Properties`, navigate to the `Security Tab` and you'll be presented with a dialog that will allow you to add these permissions.



You most likely, as prior, will NOT have access to the file(s) and/or folder(s) within this view so click the `Add` button which will allow you to add your current session Username to the list.



Now the next step is a bit weird, trust me, but it must be done.

Once you add your current session User name, select it within the list above and check the `Full Control` box in the lower half.

NOTE: AFTER DOING THIS DO NOT PRESS APPLY OR OK HERE!



Now we must go BACK into the into the Advanced section (press Advanced button again) to not only grant Full Control to the file(s) and/or folder(s) but allow us again to replicate the changes, recursively, to all files and folders beneath.

Once your back into the Advanced section, highlight your now included User name, which SHOULD have `Full Control` beside it as well check the box below to `Replace permission entries on all child objects with entries shown here that apply to child objects` (Whew, a mouthful there

Once you've done all that, click `Apply` once again and you'll see the pop-up scrolling files by applying FULL CONTROL to all the files and folders within this directory structure to YOU!



On to the third step, which is not manditory however it just makes it easier unless you want constant `This file/folder is read-only you REALLY wish to delete` messages.

Hit OK again or close the active dialogs until you come back again to just file explorer and the file(s) and/or folder(s) you wish to delete. From here, yet again, Right-Click and choose `Properties`.

Now, remember that Read-Only flag we showed first thing? Well, time to remove that as the final step before deleting and purging ourselves of these evil un-deletable files or folders!



Simply un-check the Read-Only attribute and hit `Apply` button and you will be prompted one last time, for a recursive application of this attribute.



Finally, the last of the streaming pop-ups showing it now removing the Read-Only property on each of the file(s) and folder(s) recursively.

From here, once it's done un-setting the attribute, it's time to FINALLY DELETE them!

Delete as normal, either by hitting Delete (which sends to Recycle Bin) or holding SHIFT down while hitting Delete (which will delete permanately without going to recycle bin). Choose wisely because the last option with shift is permanent.




Viola! The file(s) and/or folder(s) shall NOW BE EXORCISED and this SYSTEM IS NOW CLEAN!

(ok, bad reference to the old 80's movies Poltergiest)

!~FIN~!


Edited by Ictinike - 5/30/08 at 11:45pm
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post #2 of 5
Or you could have just loaded hiren's or some other shell that doesnt give a damn about windows DACLs and then... ZAPPO!
    
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post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
True, true.. I have many disc's like this but I figured, what the heck.. Write it up here to help others who might not be as privy to those as you and/or I.. Sorry
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post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ictinike View Post
True, true.. I have many disc's like this but I figured, what the heck.. Write it up here to help others who might not be as privy to those as you and/or I.. Sorry
Right on.
    
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post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Up for Mortimers for his issue and a well done guide IMHO (cough, lol)
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