You can always count on Windows to give you massive annoying errors when you try to do the simplest things. For example, deleting the folder! I tried to delete a folder on my Windows 7 computer and got the following error message:
Unable to delete folder. You need permission to perform this action.
So the computer administrator needs permission to delete the folder created by the administrator? Thanks Windows. Obviously my first thought was the permissions issue, but knowing how Windows works, you can never trust the error message. Unfortunately, when you run into the “You don’t have permission” issue, it is either a permission issue or because the file or folder is locked by the process.
In this post, I’ll walk you through the various methods you can try to fix this problem, starting with simpler solutions that are less likely to work, followed by more specific but more work-intensive solutions. / p>
First method – restart in safe mode
The easiest way is to try restarting Windows in Safe Mode first and trying to delete the folder from there. You can read my previous post on how to restart Windows 2000 / XP / Vista / 7 in Safe Mode. Windows 8 boots differently than previous versions of Windows, so read my previous post on how to boot Windows 8 in Safe Mode.
If you can delete a folder in Safe Mode, it means that some process was basically holding the folder and preventing Windows from deleting it. If you still can’t uninstall it and get a permission error, continue reading below.
The second method – change the permissions
This error is usually related to a real permissions issue, so let’s at least fix it before trying other options. Go ahead, right click on the folder and select Properties.
Then you want to go to the Security tab and then click the Advanced button.
Now you want to click the Change Permissions button in the lower left corner.
Now comes the fun part. It definitely looks complicated, and therefore you have to do this section correctly, otherwise you will think that you are setting the permissions correctly, when in fact they are wrong.
First of all, select the Replace all child object permissions check box with permissions inherited from this object. Then clear the Include inheritable permissions from the parent field of this object check box. When you uncheck the box, you will see a warning window asking you to select Add or Remove. Go ahead and click Add.
Now the normal folder to be deleted should look something like the above, with SYSTEM, Administrators, and the user (Aseem) having Full Control with Type set to Allow. At this point, you need to see what has changed and obtain those permissions using the Add, Modify, and Remove buttons.
If you see any permissions with Deny in Type, remove them. Then be sure to add your username and admin group and give them full access. Just click Add and enter a username for your Windows account and then click Check Names. My Windows username was Aseem, so I typed it in and clicked and it automatically changed it to WINDOWSMAC Aseem.
Do the same for admins, just enter a word and click Check Names. If SYSTEM is not there, add this as well just in case. When you’re done and the permissions look correct, click OK. This may take some time if the folder is large and contains many subfolders. When finished, try deleting the folder!
Third method – try unlocker
Unlocker is a free program that is great at telling you which programs or processes are currently locking a folder. Please note that when installing it, you need to make sure that you are not installing any special software. The program is not malware or spyware, but it asks you to install other programs, so you need to click on â€œSkipâ€ a couple of times.
Once installed, it will add the option to the right-click context menu. Go to the folder in File Explorer, right click and select Unlocker
You will now see a popup informing you that there are currently no locks, or you will receive a list of processes / programs that locked the folder:
There can be many processes listed, so you have a few options at the bottom. You can kill the process, unlock or unlock everything.
Unblock will allow you to select one specific item and unlock it. If you want to remove all locks from a folder, just click “Unlock All”. It is a very effective tool and usually solves your problem. If none of the above methods helped, your last choice is below.
Method 4 – MoveOnBoot
If all else fails, try a few more things. One is to try to delete the file before Windows is fully loaded. For this you can use the MoveOnBoot program. It is free software and works differently than a program like Unlocker
You basically install it, tell it which files or folders you want to remove, but can’t remove, and then let it restart your computer. It will tell you in the program if it can delete the folder.
Fifth method – using a boot disk
This program still works on Windows and may not work in some cases. In this respect, the only sure way to delete a folder, whether it’s locked or not, is to use a boot disk. It’s definitely more difficult, but with this method you can delete whatever you want.
Basically, a boot disk is a bootable CD / DVD that loads an OS or DOS interface, which allows you to then run commands such as deleting partitions, deleting files, restoring master boot records, and more. Most boot disks are not suitable for what we want to do, but they will do the job if nothing else works.
I won’t go into detail here on how to use the boot disk because most of these sites have their own documentation, but it’s not that hard if you take the time. Here is a list of free boot disk images that you can download:
If you have any problems with one of the methods described above, please leave a comment and we will try to help you. Method 5 can be a little tricky, so if you have questions, feel free to ask them. Enjoy!