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I hate it when my computer has a mind of it's own. I like to clean my HD of unwanted files. Unfortunately XP doesn't like that. I deleted a number of files and folders, count to ten and the computer loads them right back on.

I've searched the registry and deleted all references to the files and still they come back. I removed PC Help & Tools on the assumption that it was where this reloading was comming from. WRONG!

I thought maybe it was some function of the XP recycle bin so I deleted them in the command line. They disappeared until I went back to Windows and there they are again.

Anybody know how to permenantly delete unwanted files that XP wants to keep?

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Last Post by Catweazle
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That depends on the exact files/folders that you're dealing with, now doesn't it? :mrgreen:

Please give us more specific information on that and we'll help you out.

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Possibility one:

You're trying to remove system files and you might as well stop tying.

Possibility two:

You're trying to delete spyware and other nasties and you've no hope of doing so. Use removal tools instead.

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Possibility one:

You're trying to remove system files and you might as well stop trying.

True. Many Windows files/folders can and will auto-regenerate as needed. If you're trying to delete those sorts of things, there's no need to, and, as Catweazle said, you shouldn't be trying- they're not the types of items that should be involved in any "cleanup" efforts.

Possibility two:

You're trying to delete spyware and other nasties and you've no hope of doing so. Use removal tools instead.

And that's a very good possibiltiy. Files/folders which are not part of the core operating system but still have the ability to "respawn" after deletion are quite often components of malicious infections. As I asked before, please give us more specific information on the exact files/folders in question.

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I am trying to remove unwanted software supplied by HP. An example would be Movie Maker. (moviemkr.exe) There are several .dll's also in the folder. They regenerate also. Doesn't anyone here know how the system regenerates? It has to pick up the needed files from somewhere. It's finding a usable mm.exe and reloading it. If I delete the source, it can't regenerate.

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NEVER, NEVER, NEVER DELETE SOFTWARE!

Uninstall software, don't delete it. Deleting software does not work!

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havnt you tried it from add remove programs in control panel ?????

A question worth asking. Do it that way if you have the option.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER DELETE SOFTWARE!

Uninstall software, don't delete it. Deleting software does not work!

Erm, um, well... while CW does have a rather inimitable way of responding to some questions, his suggestion is on the mark here: if you can't uninstall a program through the control panel, it isn't suggested that you try to do so by just deleting components of the program "by hand". That will almost certainly leave "orphaned" entries in the Winows registry and other leftover bits of the program .

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Yep, on a very serious note, Dick, you sound like one of the people I encounter in my work role quite often - those who want CONTROL at all costs, and will do anything to rid their systems of any trace of a program that they didn't specifically ask for. There's absolutely no need to go on a deleting rampage just to disable unwanted tools, stop reporting back to the manufacturer or whatever, and eliminate slight system overheads that they create.

They do no harm sitting there. You can disable vurtually any manufacturer installed tools with a combination of Add/Remove programs and msconfig.

The disk space is NOT essential to reclaim. If you're that pressed for storage space, go buy another hard drive because they're quite inexpensive. If you need to delete every tiny thing you see that isn't being used, then you're too cramped for storage to start with.

Sorry to be so blunt, but I'm afraid that the approach you've described leads to problems in 99.99% of cases!

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For those that read my first thread and understood it completely. It should be obvious that I can clean out unwanted registry entrys if I want to. I would have hoped that I came across as one that knows how to use add/remove also.

So far I have removed three gigs of unwanted garbage from my HD. To me this is more than a little bit of unwanted files. I have suceeded in removing most of the self regenerating files by of all things, by using the "safe mode". I had already shut down prefetch, and killed all the back web stuff. The only items that are still bugging me are several empty folders such as games and the movie maker empty folder. I don't like unused folders filling up my drive. I know they don't take up any room. It's the visual that bugs me.

If you don't know how Microsoft sets up folders that can't be deleted, I'll be glad to bring you up to my level. You can change access to most registry items except "Prohibited Files" registry entry. If you can't change the entry, you can't block the folders it protects. I'll eventually beat it but it isn't way up there on my priority list. I just thought there might be knowlegeable guy on the forum that knew more than I did about it.

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For those that read my first thread and understood it completely. It should be obvious that I can clean out unwanted registry entrys if I want to. I would have hoped that I came across as one that knows how to use add/remove also...

If you don't know how Microsoft sets up folders that can't be deleted, I'll be glad to bring you up to my level. You can change access to most registry items except "Prohibited Files" registry entry... I just thought there might be knowlegeable guy on the forum that knew more than I did about it.

Well Dick,

We certain would like to thank you for those comments. Additionally, we sincerely apologize that the help we offer here (on our own free and unpaid time) was not "up to your level".

No further comment...

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In fact the problem is rather more serious than some of the replies might suggest. Windows XP now has a nice feature. If you have to reinstall it, it copies your old disk contents to a folder called 'My Old Disk Structure - (Date1)'. That is a great improvement compared to losing everything, as in the past, but, when you have got the new installation up and running, and all your files transferred, just try to delete My Old Disk Structure (MODS). XP will spot that it contains one or more SP2 folders and a Windows folder and refuse point blank to remove them, although you can remove most constituent files from the latter. Trying to delete the Windows Update uninstall folders is, however, a waste of time. And don't bother to try Safe Mode or DOS. That does not work either - at least, not in my experience.

So, is there any harm in just giving up and carrying the redundant junk along with you, as suggested? Well, every time you back-up you will be forced to back-up MODS, unless you take steps to exclude it. And if you have to reinstall XP in future you will have yet another MODS - (Date2) to contend with. Any further repetitions will lead, in turn, to MODS - Date3, 4, 5...N.

Surely there must be a way of removing the debris this useful function leaves behind? I must admit that I have not found it but there are many much cleverer people than me. That is what I am doing in this forum.

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Peter, my suggestion was not addressing the situation you describe. It was primarily directed at the situation where people try to manually remove old software from their systems.

Despite that, however, I'd still maintain that in the situation you describe, a 'highly technical' hands-on approach of ferreting deep into Windows and making changes/deleting unwanted material is not necessarily the best approach. It's still a "shut the stable door after the horse has bolted" approach in my view, and what is needed is a completely different strategy from the outset.

If you find yourself frequently 'reinstalling' Windows to correct system problems you need to identify the computing habits which are causing problems for you and discontinue them. Windows XP can, and does, run stably for years on end for the majority of people.

You should not perform 'Upgrade install' (reinstalling Windows over the top of the existing installation) time after time repeatedly. Once might correct a problem, but the next instance should always be format and start over! Upgrade installs do NOT correct all problems, and in many instances they can MAGNIFY pre-existing system problems.

By far the better approach is to keep your data externally backed up, to removable media or to another drive, and to use drive imaging software to keep a 'snapshot' of your system in a freshly setup clean state. When things go haywire on you, sensible backup and restoration procedures can have you up and running again in a short space of time, without residual problems.

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