Mid-summer ago, I ran into a seemingly "undeletable" Flash file.
I had been running The Secunia Software Inspector on my XP Professional machine and ran into the outdated file which needed to be removed to make way for the latest version.
However, despite my attempts I could not remove the file "normally."
Turns out it had special file permissions set on it that made the Read-only setting stick, no matter what.
You can go back and re-read the post to get the details on CALCS and special file permission settings on NTFS formatted drives. Following the steps I outlined in my research allowed me to eventually clear the file.
So when I encountered the same one again on my Vista Home Premium system, I didn't even blink an eye at removing the locks this time. Gone in less that 60 seconds.
That post has now risen to become one of the most popular (for now) of all my blog posts to date. So clearly, this is an issue that many other users have been searching for solutions to.
Options for Deleting Stubborn Flash Files
So what to do? Luckily you have a number of options now available if you are running Vista, XP Professional, or Windows 2000 Professional, depending on your willingness to make it as easy or complex as you want (assuming your drive is NTFS formatted).
Option 1: Manually change the file settings
Open Windows Explorer and browsed back to the file.
Right-click the file and selected "Properties."
Click the "Security" tab. And note the "Special Permissions" line in the bottom section.
On the Security tab, I click the "Advanced" button to drop into the "Advanced Security Settings" for the file.
One by one, select each line that shows "Deny" as the type and click the "Edit" button.
In the next pop-up window, uncheck the "deny" tickbox as set and save the changes.
Apply the changes through.
Then right-click the file and selected "Properties" again.
This time remove the "Read-only" setting and apply the change.
Finally delete the file.
Option Two: Use the Command Shell
Open the command prompt session.
Browse to the C:\Windows\System32\Macromed\Flash folder.
Type and run the following command as suggested by john: cacls flash9c.ocx /e /r everyone
where fash9c.ocx is the name of the file you are having issues deleting.
I would also suggest trying the following: cacls flash9c.ocx /e /g everyone:f
Then delete the file.
Option Three: Run the Flash Uninstaller
As Julie Smith suggests, you can also just use the Flash uninstaller that is a bit hard to locate
Adobe - Flash Player Uninstaller
What About XP Home?
I didn't realize it at the time of my original post, but XP Home will not allow you to use Option #1 as the File Security Manager tab is just not accessible in this version.
I found this out when I was doing another Secunia Software Inspector sweep of Lavie's XP Home laptop the other day. It was in pretty good shape. A few software updates were needed, but this time it identified the file Flash9b.ocx and it was locked down tight as well with the special permissions. Only this time I couldn't delete it via the security tab, since it wasn't there.
Options Two and Three still worked.
So if you are a XP Home user, you shouldn't feel left out. But what if you REALLY, REALLY don't like doing the command-line thing, and maybe have a file that the uninstaller won't remove (or you are dealing with another file totally unrelated to Flash)?
Three more options exist for you to get the File Security Manager tab:
- File Security Manager - (trial/$) - "File Security Manager allows you set, view and modify NTFS access permissions in Windows XP Home like in Windows XP Professional. You can easily lock, deny or allow access to files, folders and drives, define advanced permissions."
- Permissions Manager - XPHome tools - (trial/$) - "Permissions Manager is a software supplies GUI to manage security settings of files and folders. This GUI is quite different than generic Windows security dialog. It allows creating predefined sets of access control entries (presets) and applying these presets to file system objects."
- Windows Safe Mode - (free) - Yep. It's that cheap and that easy. Just boot XP Home in Safe Mode (F8 at boot). Now the File Security Manager tab magically appears in it's full XP Professional glory and will allow you to make any advanced special file permission settings changes in it's full GUI glory.
Yeah, I couldn't believe it was that easy either.
Additional XP File Security Setting Resources
- TweakXP.com - Get XP Pro file Security with XP Home
- File Security Manager Advanced PC Access control for Windows XP Home
- MS-DOS cacls command help
- Microsoft Windows XP - Cacls