While developing this morning on my Windows Vista Home Premium system this morning I came across an unexpected error message when trying to delete a folder through Windows Explorer. This was unexpected because, as a software developer, I’ve deleted thousands of directories over the years using Windows Explorer. I also always run as a user with admin rights. (Yes, I know this is bad, but that’s what I do.)
Naturally, I tried the “Try Again” button a few times. I even tried cancelling the operation and restarting. None of these troubleshooting steps worked.
A web search through Google didn’t reveal anything really useful. Most postings suggested that the user didn’t own the folder and, therefore, didn’t have enought rights to delete the folder and that the user should “take ownership” of the directory that they were attempting to delete. This wasn’t particularly helpful in my situation as my user account was the one responsible for creating the directory in the first place.
I solved this particular problem by engaging in good troubleshooting practices. I drilled in through the directory tree to the files that it contained. I deleted each file. I then deleted each directory up to the one I had originally tried to delete. Magically I was then able to delete it. Since the problem only involved two files and two directories it wasn’t a big deal.
There must be a reason behind this error message, but it isn’t obvious from the title, any of the text, or any of the buttons within the dialog.