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Access Denied — How to Delete Protected or Spyware Files

When trying to delete spyware files, users will often get errors. Here is how to overcome the spyware’s protection over these files.

I hate this error — Access Denied. Damn spyware has got the file locked… and now I’ve got to figure out how to unlock it. This is much more art than science but I’ll tell you how I typically walk through the program.

If you can’t even find the file that you need to delete, you might want to try this trick:
Find Files and Spyware that are Really Hidden

    1. Change your system so you can view and edit your hidden and system files:

    2. Close all programs. Sometimes a currently running program will have locked the file. Typically this won’t work, but you’ll feel silly missing it.

    3. Boot to safe mode. Booting to safe mode will often disable spyware programs that might be holding access to the files in question. You might as well stay in safe mode for the rest of the process.

    4. Force stop unknown programs and processes. CTRL-ALT-DEL will bring up the task manager that will allow you to kill unknown programs and processes. If you can’t use the taskmanager, you can try some of the freeware replacements such as:

    5. Sometimes it is just easier to delete the file in a dos box. To open a command box:

    – Click Start
    – Click Run
    – In the textbox type cmd.exe and click OK

    6. I’m not going to try to teach DOS here, but the command to delete a file is the following:
    del \folder\file.exe

    7. If you still can’t delete it, you can clear the attributes of the file. If you need details on this, you can read more about it here. The dos command for this is the following:
    attrib -r -s -h trojanfilename

    After doing this you will still need to delete the file with one of the methods described above.

    8. If none of the above work, you can use a specialized file deletion freeware program such as Move On Boot.

    9. Booting to a CD-ROM boot utility disk or linux disk is a painful, but almost foolproof, method of deleting files. Here’s that recipe:
    Here’s how to remove infected files from the system restore area:

    If you have any other hints please let us know.

David Kirk
David Kirk
David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.


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