Can’t delete files on external USB hard disk drive

I can’t delete files on my external USB hard disk drive

External hard disk drive problem

I can’t delete files in Windows 7 Home Premium from my 500GB Western Digital Elements external USB hard disk drive. I can’t find a Delete option and if I drag a file to the Recycle Bin, it won’t go there.

Answer

If you can’t delete files, it looks like a problem to do with permissions or file attributes. Many external hard drives are pre-formatted and, because they are intended to store backups, are designed to make files difficult to delete. Some backup external hard drives even have a physical read-only switch that makes it impossible to write to or delete them.

Also, if the files were copied from CDs or DVDs, they may retain a read-only file attribute.

If there is no read-only hardware switch preventing deletion and you’re using the master Administrator account (not a user account), you can reset the permissions in order to give full access to the files.

Windows 10 Administrator account and other user accounts explained –

Windows 10 Administrator account and other user accounts explained

Microsoft Knowledge Base article 326549 called: You cannot view or change the Read-only or the System attributes of folders in Windows Server 2003, in Windows XP, in Windows Vista or in Windows 7

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/326549

– provides step-by-step instructions on “How to use the Attrib command to work around the inability to view or to remove the Read-only or the System attributes of folders in Windows Server 2003, in Windows XP, Windows Vista and in Windows 7.”

Following those instructions, a few clicks should restore the ability to delete the files.

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