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I was recently asked to help clean up a computer that had been hacked. There were now a number of files that could not be deleted since the file names had been damaged in such a way that they could not be conventionally manipulated. This prompted me to search for a solution that could be applied elsewhere, and I found one: DelinvFile.
The DelinvFile utility is written by the creators of the PurgeIE tool, and offers four possible methods to remove an offending file or folder from your system:
- You can delete a file or folder by using its "short name" (the 8.3 DOS-compatible name generated for the file). This is useful for very long file names that might have an illegal character. (Although sometimes deleting the containing folder for a file is the only way to really get rid of something.)
- You can delete the file via a Universal Naming Convention (UNC) reference. While this a UNC is typically used to delineate network resources, it can also be used to refer to files in the local file system (C:\Boot.INI would be referred to as \\?\C:\Boot.INI.) This is an alternate way to delete files whose names, according to the file-naming constraints of the file system, may not be valid.
- You can rename the offending file or folder and then attempt to delete it.
- You can delete the offending file or folder entirely at the next reboot.
Note: The free, unregistered version of the program can only be used to delete files and folders (which covers the vast majority of what you might need the utility for). The full version is available for $17.95.
About the author:
Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Insight, (formerly the Windows Power Users Newsletter), a blog site devoted to hints, tips, tricks and news for users and administrators of Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Vista. He has more than 12 years of Windows experience under his belt, and contributes regularly to SearchWinComputing.com and SearchSQLServer.com.