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Randomly named folders on c drive... I am not a fan

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

This drives me crazy, so I finally took some time tonight to find out what causes this problem and how to solve it.

For those of you that aren't aware or don't have this issue, sometimes when Microsoft installs updates, specifically MSXML updates (as well as a few others, including SP1), it will leave a folder on your C drive, named with a GUID (minus the dashes). This is because of a failed or partially failed Windows update, which fails to remove itself upon completion (or failure).

One example from my computer for the folder name was 1cd8977f7d77d8c77dd7887caa78c

In my case, I had three of them, and when you try to delete them it states: "sp1: Access denied." SP1 is a subdirectory of the annoyingly-named directory.

Upon trying to browse into these folders, you also receive an access denied error.

Now, mind you, I am logged in as an Administrator, and this should simply never happen... I couldn't even browse to the folder which was incredibly annoying.

So I started doing some digging, and found a few articles online but most of them weren't getting the access denied errors, they were just annoyed the files were showing up.

Time to get nerdy on their ass, so here is my resolution:

A quick note: do not do this if you are not an experienced Windows user, manually changing ACLs on files and folders, especially in safe mode, can be incredibly risky. Double-check all of your input before you execute any of these commands. Verify that your paths are correct (ie: don't change the ACLS on your root Windows directory). Also note that I'm not responsible...

Restart your computer, after the BIOS screen (or loading screen) continually tap F8 until you see a Windows prompt. Select the option for Safe Mode with Command Prompt and login with your Administrator login (or comparable administrative rights logon).

At the command prompt, change to your c drive (cd )

Now grant your username permissions on the folder. The command I executed was as follows:

cacls [foldername] /G Administrator:F

This will Grant the username Administrator Full rights to [foldername]

It will ask for a confirmation, and enter Y for yes and hit enter.

Now enter del /q /s [foldername] which will remove all of the files recursively from the directory structure.

Now enter rmdir /s [foldername] which will remove all of the folders recursively. For some reason del /q /s did not properly remove the folders as I expected it to, but the latter solution worked.

Hopefully this will save some of you a whole bunch of frustration.

Tom out.

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