How to Delete Files and Folders From Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8

When I use Vista I pull my hair out. Why, you may ask? Because using Vista is just like using XP (except much slower) – until you try to delete something. Then it acts more like Fort Knox than an operating system. Gaining complete control over Vista isn’t easy. This post aims to get you over that hurdle.

How to delete files and folders from Vista/Windows 7/Window 8

I’ve added this post for people leaving AOL because some of you use Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8. Deleting AOL’s leftover files and folders can’t be done on these systems without learning a few special tricks. As usual, take these steps at your own risk. If you have a question, you can leave a comment or email me.

How To Disable UAC

  • Here’s four methods to disable UAC (User Account Control). Disabling UAC will save you time by giving you minimal Administrator rights over your computer. However, you’ll still need to choose one of the methods below to delete all of AOL’s folders.

How To Run as Admin

How to Elevate Your Admin Privileges

Here’s how to elevate your privileges in Vista/Win7/Win8 on a folder-by-folder basis. I’ve shamelessly stolen my instructions from a comment written by “Alan” on The How-To Geek.

  1. Assuming you already have admin privileges: Right-click the AOL folder you wish to delete, click Properties, then click your Security tab.
  2. The bottom half of the Security window will list the current user permissions. Click the Advanced button you’ll see there.
  3. Click the Owner tab, then click the Edit button (you’ll be asked for permission if UAC is enabled).
  4. Change the Owner to your own account, then place a checkmark next to the words, ‘Replace owner on subcontainers and objects’ and click the Apply button. This results in all files including system files being switched to your account as the owner.
  5. Now click ‘Advanced Security Settings for (your folder) ‘. Now you can edit the permissions: select your account (the one you just used to take ownership) and click the Edit button.
  6. You will now see the Permissions tab. Select your user account (first doublecheck that the permission set for it is Full Control). Place a checkmark next to the words, ‘Replace all existing inheritable permissions‚Ķ’, then click Apply.

Vista/Win7/Win8 may still ask for permission to delete your folder, but now you have the permission you need to delete it.

How to Take Over Vista/Win7/Win8

Best of all (and my favorite kind of step – the most dangerous one)…

Here’s how to access the top-secret Super Admin account using Command Prompt, a powerful tool that’s built right into Windows and is completely safe to use if you follow these instructions (this renders all other methods to delete folders unnecessary since it makes Vista/Win7/Win8 work just like XP):

  1. Click the Start Orb in Vista/Windows 7 or click the Start Charm in Windows 8 and type cmd; right-click Command Prompt and choose Run as Administrator from the dropdown menu.
  2. Once Command Prompt is open (you should see a fairly small black box on your screen) find the flashing cursor; right next to it type or copy and paste this in: Net user administrator /active:yes.
  3. Hit the Enter key on your keyboard. You will see the message, “The command completed successfully” right beneath your command.
  4. Restart your computer and you will see a new account on the Windows Welcome Screen named Admin. This account has all the privileges of an XP Administrator account, so you can now find and delete any file or folder you want.

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