How to Remove Files with Reserved Names in Windows XP

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Article ID: 315226 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q315226
For a Microsoft Windows 2000 version of this article, see 120716.
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Because applications control the policy for creating files in Windows, files sometimes are created with illegal or reserved names, such as LPT1 or PRN. This article explains how to delete such files by using the standard user interface.


You must be logged on locally to the Windows-based computer to delete these files.

If the file was created on a file allocation table (FAT) partition, you may be able to delete the file under MS-DOS by using standard command line utilities (such as DEL) with wildcard (*) characters, for example:


These commands do not work on an NTFS file system partition. For this case another option would be to use a syntax that bypasses the normal reserved-word checks altogether. You may be able to delete any file by using a command like this:
DEL \\.\drive letter:\path\file name
For example:
DEL \\.\c:\somedir\aux
If the name in the file system appears as a directory, you may be able to delete any directory by using a command like this:
RD \\.\drive letter:\path\directory name
For example:
RD \\.\c:\somedir\aux


Article ID: 315226 - Last Review: December 31, 2006 - Revision: 4.2
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
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