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Article ID: 159199 - Last Review: February 20, 2007 - Revision: 2.1

This article was previously published under Q159199

SYMPTOMS

A file or directory on an NTFS volume cannot be deleted or accessed. Windows NT returns an "Access Denied" error message when you attempt to manipulate the file. You are not able to view the permissions, the owner, or the contents of the file. The file does, however, show up in a DIR listing in File Manager and in Explorer. This occurs even though the user trying to access the file has permissions to the file. Even an administrator will be unable to take ownership of this file.

CAUSE

There are two causes:
  • This file is in a state known as pending deletion. This file has been deleted, but there are still handles open to it. NTFS will wait until all handles to this file are closed before updating the index. If an attempt is made to access the file, however, NTFS will deny the attempt. Because the file is listed in the index, but is effectively deleted, you can see the file but you cannot access it.
  • The file has become corrupted.

RESOLUTION

The following are the resolutions to the above causes, respectively:
  • This is by design. Simply wait for all of the handles to this file to be closed, and the file will be removed from the index. If it is a directory that is in this state, make sure that this directory does not have a share associated with it or any directory below it in the tree. Restarting the machine will always make the file disappear, since all handles will be closed upon shutdown.
  • Run CHKDSK /F on the volume that contains the file.

APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
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