by Eric Bright
Updated on February 12, 2019
Objective: removing an apparently irremovable file or folder.
Affected OS: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, and newer versions
You have a FOLDER on your desktop with a FILE in it, which you cannot delete.
You’re given this message:
“Cannot read from the source file or disk.”
Possible “solutions” that might not work:
- You tried to find how to delete it; you googled it, read all newsgroups, posts in some professional forums, asked your friends, downloaded
IObit Unlocker (and an article about it), EMCO MoveOnBoot, LockHunter, CopyLock, KillBox, Delete Doctor, Deleting Invalid Data Files [see the end of this page for more information on this program; this program is more than what you may guess], DeleteFXPFiles, and Unlocker (it has an x64 version too and a Win7-x64 works only with the x64 version of Unlocker), installed, and performed what they suggested; and finally frustrated by failure.
- You downloaded Process Explorer and examined every single process running in memory to find a sign of a program that may be using _something_ in that folder. You closed all programs, every resident applications, and all running processes that can be closed. You also closed even some of Windows process and stopped as many services as possible; no sign of any file handle to anything related to that folder… result: negative.
- You have uninstalled many programs that you suspect they may cause the problem;… negative.
- You tried to do “Open with…” then created a file with the same name, saved over the existing one… with no luck.
- You have no Spyware, no virus and nothing suspicious at all.
- You did chkdsk c: /f, RegSeeker, NortonDiskDoctor, Regedit (see also this), and lots of command line instructions that you read in forums;… negative (in regedit, you cannot even see any entry with the same name as that stupid file in your Windows registry.) (more about chkdsk.)
- In the end, before installing a fresh damn Windows, why don’t you try this one:
At a cmd prompt type the following:
RD /S /Q [drive:] path
[on Windows XP]
C:\Documents and Settings[your log-in name]\Desktop\>RD /S /Q foldername
[on Windows 7]
C:\Users[your log-in name]\Desktop\>RD /S /Q foldername
Another example: assume I have such a bad folder on my desktop; its name is StupidFolder, and there is a file inside it, named BS. with a zero length and no other retrievable properties, or perhaps it has a creation date; assume that my log-in name is eric and we are on a Win 10 system. Now:
- Run -> cmd.exe
- cd c:\Users\eric\Desktop\
- rd /s /q stupidfolder
Be very careful with what you are doing, otherwise, you may lose everything on your desktop. The path of the command must be correct. Please double-check the spelling before pressing the [Enter] button. If you are not sure about what is going to happen or if you don’t know whether the path of the StupidFolder is correct, DO NOT DO WHAT I SAID. If you lose your valuable data, nobody, including me, would be responsible, but you yourself.
A little background about RD command
It goes back to the era of MS-DOS (see also
Basic DOS commands