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How can old window user account files be removed?

Posted on 2015-02-20
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Last Modified: 2015-03-16
I am running out of space on my hard drive see about 7 different folders under users.  They are for old or unused windows account users.  When I try to delete them I get an error that they are required and can not be deleted. What?  How can I delete these and free up wasted disk space?
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Question by:pcorathers
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18 Comments
 
LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:Shahnawaz Ahmed
ID: 40621076
Dear pcorathers,

You can boot your machine in the safemode and then remove those unwanted users folders.
Please delete from the folders- c:\temp & c:\windows\temp

I would suggest you to run Treesize to get the clear view which folder is taking most of the space and whether its required or not.
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:Andy M
ID: 40621077
Usually this would indicate that an application or service is running something within the folder. You could try having a look through them - see if something like dropbox, logmein, etc has files in there.

Could also try booting into safe mode with the admin account and try removing them that way (this may cause some apps to stop working though if there is something needed within them - maybe try renaming them first? If everything works then delete them.)
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40621228
Go into the control Panel, Open Users accounts, and then delete your unneeded accounts that way (you need to be an Admin to do that). When you get to delete the account, make sure you select the option to also delete the files.
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:Santosh Gupta
ID: 40621283
Hi,

You must be getting the permission related messages, Take the ownership on those folders/users and then delete it.

To take ownership, Right click on that folder --> Properties --> Security --> Advanced --> Owner --> Edit and then check mark on "Replace Owenr on subdirectories and objests". and then click on apply.

Now you should be able to delete those users profile.

OR

use command propmt to take ownership.

TAKEOWN /F <filename>
ICACLS <filename> /grant administrators:F

http://www.winhelponline.com/blog/take-ownership-of-file-or-folder-windows-7-vista/
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 40622617
Don't just roam around trying to delete folders.  Do it the proper way as rindi has described.
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 40622708
for gaining space, i also look at the installed programs (control panel - add/remove programs) and uninstall all old and unwanted programs
then i search for temp files -  and delete them
i found also that in many cases, removing the picture files from my pictures frees up a lot of space (put them on an external disk, or DVD, since they won't change usually after being taken)
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Author Comment

by:pcorathers
ID: 40623281
I  only have one active user account.
But I  show have the following folders that trator

Administrator
Default
LocalService.NT Authority
All Users
Default User.windows
NetworkService
Paul Corathers- This is the ONLY one I want to use
All Users.Windows
LocalService
NetworkService.NTh Authority
 
Do all these serve ANY useful purpose?.  It seems to me they are just garbage files.
The error I get is this is a windows system folder and can not be deleted REALLY?
0
 

Author Comment

by:pcorathers
ID: 40623284
>I would suggest you to run Treesize

? What  is "treesize"?

>for gaining space, i also look at the installed programs (control panel - add/remove programs) and uninstall all old and unwanted programs
 then i search for temp files -  and delete them
 i found also that in many cases, removing the picture files from my pictures frees up a lot of space (put them on an external disk, or DVD, since they won't change usually after being taken)

I've done all that and I use  ccleaner
0
 
LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40623295
Those are all needed, some by services that run on the PC.
0
 

Author Comment

by:pcorathers
ID: 40623303
It seems like they mainly duplicates  all the stuff included for each user. Favorites, Cookies, Start.  Menu ..... They take up almost a gig a space with  .Dat files which show a file dates from 2008 These are "required"?
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LVL 88

Assisted Solution

by:rindi
rindi earned 50 total points
ID: 40623328
Yes, they are required.
0
 
LVL 38

Accepted Solution

by:
BillDL earned 450 total points
ID: 40623432
"Administrator" is the built-in account that allows you to log into the computer and perform actions that might not normally be allowed if you were logged in as a "standard user" with restrictions.  You may not see the "Administrator" user on the Windows XP Welcome Screen as it is deliberately hidden by default, and in XP Home version you can only log in as Administrator if you boot to Safe Mode, but you cannot remove the "Administrator" account.

The "All Users" account is also essential.  A lot of the folders and shortcuts for installed programs that show on your own Start Menu are actually on the "All Users" Start Menu.  That is the way programs install so that they are available to all users.

The other SYSTEM-generated profiles:
LocalService.NT Authority, NetworkService, and LocalService
were all created when Windows was installed, and are essential.  DO NOT mess with these.

The "Default User" profile is the first user profile that was first created when Windows was first installed, and before you named your own profile.  DO NOT mess with this, because I am sure it is tied to your own user profile.

The others with the ".windows" in the names:
Default User.windows, and All Users.Windows
look as though they were created when Windows was reinstalled at some time after the original installation.  It is dangerous trying to remove these, because you can never be sure whether your current profile is linked to these.

You are encountering what all Microsoft Windows users have to contend with.  If you were to look at all of the space that is taken up by the installer packages and backup files created by Windows Update it would make you realise how much space is consumed on your hard drive, but if you remove them you can never uninstall any problematic updates and it can mess up your Windows Update history.  There are many more instances of what might seem like a waste of space, but avoid messing with anything until you know exactly what all the folders and files are needed for.
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 40623904
what is your current disk - and free space size?
0
 
LVL 59

Expert Comment

by:LeeTutor
ID: 40666672
I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

Not enough information to confirm an answer.
0
 
LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40666673
BillDL and I answered the Question.
0
 

Author Closing Comment

by:pcorathers
ID: 40666796
I like the detailed explanation that BillDL  provided helped me understand.  Thank you
Rindi was also correct so deserves some credit.
0
 
LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 40667642
Thank you pcorathers
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