You Receive an "Access Denied" Error Message When You Delete Folders from a Mounted Drive


If you try to delete folders that are stored on a mounted drive and send them to the Recycle Bin, you may receive the following error message:

Cannot delete Foldername: Access is denied. The source file may be in use.


This problem occurs because the Recycle Bin does not recognize mounted volumes. For example, assume that the following drive layout is in use:

Drive C is a 1-gigabyte (1-GB) drive that uses the NTFS file system.
C:\Host-dir is the mount point for a separate 9-GB drive.
If you try to delete a folder with the path C:\Host-dir\Mydir, Windows Explorer interprets the folder as being on drive C and tries unsuccessfully to place it in the Recycle Bin on drive C.


To work around this issue, use either of the following methods:
  • When you delete files or folders by using Windows Explorer, use the SHIFT+DELETE key combination. This bypasses the Recycle Bin.
  • Open a command prompt window and use the rd /s /q command to delete the files or folders.
NOTE: Both of these methods permanently delete the data. You cannot recover the data unless you have a current backup.


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article.

Article ID: 319368 - Last Review: Oct 23, 2008 - Revision: 1