Cannot delete a folder with a Padlock symbol on Windows 2008 R2

Something's seem so trivial but give you loads of grief and that is what I encountered yesterday. All I had to do was to delete a folder on my file server..seems simple right? I mean even my mom can do that!

But as it turned out with this folder was that the permissions were so messed up that no one had any access to this folder and it had a golden padlock symbol next to it...the folder only contained a 128 KB file called "autotun.inf"

So I had to put on my system admin cap on and try a host of different steps to see if I would be able tp delete this folder and yea the reason I wanted to delete this folder was because my backup application (Netbackup 7.5) was getting stuck while backing up this folder and since the permissions were so messed up it could not back it up and proceed further and kept failing.

This was an extreme issue of a folder having a permission probem and I think the steps outlined below will help to resolve any such issue!

  • First I tried taking ownership of this folder by going inside the security permission under the folder properties and then the advance tab and try to change the owner to my user account. When I did that the process would just hang and take forever and  I had to cancel it eventually just first try that and if you are able to take the ownership you might be able to delete the folder.
  • Second I tried logging in as the local administrator on the file server and tried doing the exact same thing but it failed and the process would just hang.
  • I then tried deleting th folder using ROBOCOPY and by making use of the PURGE switch but since no one had any access to this folder even robocopy was not able to delete the file
  • I then downloaded a utility called "FILE ASSASIN" which deletes files in a brute force way by un-locking the handles but remember this utility can only delete files not folders so in my case I selected the autorun.inf to be deleted but no go it didnt have much luck.
  • I then downloaded Process Explorer by Microsoft so that I could identity the handle which was stuck on this folder by going to FIND --> HANDLE and browsing to the problem folder but in my case it was not able to find any handles! well that's what it told me...
  • I then proceded to download another utility called "Unlocker" (http://www.filehippo.com/download_unlocker) and when I selected the file to be unlocked it waited forever and and the end it said "File Cannot be deleted would you like to request for deletion at the next reboot" so I selected YES and closed the dialog box.
  • I tried deleting the "autorun.inf" file using an elevated command prompt but it wasn't able to get through.
  • Since this was a WINDOWS 2008 R2 server, I went inside Administrative tools --> Share and Storage Management and then clicked on Manage open files on the right to see if anyone had this folder or file open but there was no one who did

So basically as you can make out this folder was just plain annoying! So what I did was I rebooted the server out of office hours and logged back in and when I tried deleting the folder it was gone!!! so much for all that troubleshooting... and after that I re-ran my file server backup and it completed successfully!

Just yeah but plain simple REBOOT!

PS: If you have questions on how to execute any of the steps highlighted above just post a comment below and I will help you out!

-Alstar