After installing Windows Patches the user may find strange looking folders (with names that are hexadecimal numbers, i.e. only letters a-z and 0-9) at the top level of a drive.  Some of these folders are only temporary folders and are not needed once the patch has been installed.

In Figure 1, the Microsoft patch “Security Update for Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 (KB972221)” left behind a folder named D:\d707465963f1f97d0d9e8ad0d33066cd.

Figure 1 KB972221

These folders are temporary folders (e.g. uncompressed archives) created by the patch installation mechanism and deleted once a patch is successfully installed. If the patch installation does not finish (e.g. if the computer is restarted while installing the patch) these folders might remain on the file system.

Note: please be cautious when deleting folders. Do not delete folders that you are not certain that they are not needed anymore. Do not delete folders for patch installations that are currently running. Make sure that you have usable backups of the deleted folders before deleting them.

Administrators cannot delete these folders.

Figure 2 Deleting folder

This is because the owner of the folders is the user SYSTEM and the group Administrators does not have permissions to delete them.

Figure 3 Folder permissions

How can I Delete these Folders?

In order to delete these folders you need to change the owner of the folder to your current user and then you need to grant the necessary permissions to the new owner.

In order to do these changes you can use either Windows Explorer or the command line.

The commands to use from the command line are:

takeown /f <FolderName> /r /d y

icacls <FolderName><UserName>:F /t

E.g.

C:\>takeown /f D:\d707465963f1f97d0d9e8ad0d33066cd /r /d y

SUCCESS: The file (or folder): "D:\d707465963f1f97d0d9e8ad0d33066cd" now owned by user "PC\Administrator".

...

C:\>icacls D:\d707465963f1f97d0d9e8ad0d33066cd /grant administrator:F /t

processed file: D:\d707465963f1f97d0d9e8ad0d33066cd

Successfully processed x files; Failed processing 0 files