Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

Can I delete these randomly named folders?


I found these two entries while using Windows Explorer in Local Disk C:


What do they mean? Can I safely delete them or transfer them to My

What they are is easy.

Whether or not you can, or should, delete them depends on where they are.

Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!

These folders are most often created by various update utilities – most often Windows update – as temporary locations to store files before or while the update is applied to your machine. They’re supposed to be deleted automatically when the update is finished. But as you’ve experienced, that’s not always the case.

Same for me, by the way. I just found a folder “C:\66b56c24fd10a4d55d658cce1cc19e” on my machine.

If you have more than one drive, you may find them on drives other than C: as well. I’ve found them on my external hard drive, E:, on occasion as well.

The short answer is that if these folders exist at the root of one of your drives, you’re quite safe to delete them, particularly if they’ve been around for a while. They’re just unnecessary leftovers from a previous software update.

If you’re paranoid – and it’s often good to be paranoid – you can always copy the folder to some other location or burn it to a CD. That way in case we were wrong, in case something appears to start misbehaving after removing the folder, you can always restore it from the backup.

Me? I just deleted “C:\66b56c24fd10a4d55d658cce1cc19e” from my machine.

One caveat: if you find these folders anywhere underneath your Windows directory, I’d be tempted to leave them alone. I’ve seen comments that it’s possible that they might hold the updated files for a possible uninstall, or for Windows System File Protection. As long as they’re not taking up much space, then they’re fairly benign anyway.

However if you can’t resist and want to delete them anyway, then I definitely recommend copying them somewhere for safety first, just in case.

Do this

Subscribe to Confident Computing! Less frustration and more confidence, solutions, answers, and tips in your inbox every week.

I'll see you there!

16 comments on “Can I delete these randomly named folders?”

  1. Is there a recognised algorithm the generate truly random number strings? Twenty years ago it seemed to be the pursuit of computer scientists. Has it been achieved yet?

  2. Your remarks concerning odd named files- I (have) had one on my physical second Hard Drive D: – turned out to be a text files of a logging sequence.
    I just deleted it, but did a Restore point beforehand- I have XP Home.
    Thanks Leo, your answer helped.
    I am a newcomer to your Newsletter.

  3. Hmm…well, what if those Random Folders refuse to be deleted because they claim they are being used by a program even though there are no files inside? I can successfully remove all of those random folders except for one stubborn one which will probably remain for the remainder of the life of my computer. So annoying!

  4. have two folders on external drive E: Properties are:

    I cannot delete these folders nor their contents, get Cannot delete (filename)ACCESS DENIED. They have been there for months. Unlocker does not work on them. Booted in safe mode, .. same problem. Have ticket open with Microsoft Support, but so far, nothing back from them. XP Home SP2.

  5. Nice and important article Leo , thanks.
    John i think these files is necesary for Xp system , any way if you didn’t like to be these folders visible in your drive , just make them hidden from the folders option for these folders “eb99fa32721d7821dfea81e9” “be0224887b466ec6b6ba11edbaa265″…

  6. If you get an access denied error, note the file name, and boot of your XP disc into the Recovery Console. Trust me, you can’t miss it.

    Then, type in

    del (Drive Letter):\(Filename)

    Example: C:\62sdf0ajsf2adfs

  7. Ahh.. thanks for the information.
    You’re awesome.

    I had three oddly named folders in the root of my E:\ drive, and now those ugly folders are gone. :]

  8. If you are unable to delete the folders, you need to take ownership of the folder and sub folders and files.
    First remove “use simple file sharing”
    In explorer Tools-Folder Options-View then uncheck “use simple file sharing” at the bottom of the list.
    This will enable the security tab when you right click on the folder and access the properties page.

    Select the security tab and click advanced.

    Select the owner tab then select your user account and check replace owner on subcontainer, then click apply.

    You should be able to delete the folder subfolders and files.

    Hope this helps

  9. If you are unable to delete the folders, you need to take ownership of the folder and sub folders and files.
    First remove “use simple file sharing”…

    Thanks David.

    If that doesnt work for you (I did not for me) try this:

    Right click on the folder>Properties>Security.
    Click on your account. At the bottom check the “Allow” box for “Full Control” option.

    Im using XPSP2 Pro on a corperate image…

  10. I have an external hd that I used to use on my XPSP3 machine that has 6 of these folders on it, and nothing I do (setting permissions, security etc) is working to remove these files. Formatting the drive is out of the question, as the drive hold artwork and photography projects. How can I get rid of them?

  11. I found a combo of David’s steps and Jesse’s suggestion to work for every set of folders I had of this type. Try both suggestions, and make sure you select ‘replace permission entries on all child…’. Make sure when you switch ownership, it’s to a user with Admin rights and you then give it full permissions.

    Thanks guys – this was a big annoyance on all my NTFS removeable drives.

  12. It works for me, based on Leo’s recommendations:
    Properties, Security, Full Control.
    I have to do one for each folder (I got 4 folders).
    So I deleted them all…one at a time…

    Thank you.

  13. I searched Yahoo, Google, and Bing. I got the dumbest answers. I was completed disgusted. I have used the internet since its arrival. I have used computers since 1984 approx. The internet is completely corrupted of commercialism. I use less and less and am not afraid to caution many of its illicit propagation. I am thankful for those websites like yours. The gimme society of IT is repugnant.


Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.