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How To Make and Use a Bootable WinPE Drive

Delete Otherwise Untouchable Files

Occasionally, changes in drive or system use or default Vista file permissions for special directories, such as %windir%, %programfiles%, and so forth, will prevent you from deleting files you’d like to get rid of. Case in point: the Windows Home Server Connector troubleshooting guide recommends deleting files from previous installations to solve certain problems, but Vista won’t allow you to delete them in normal operation mode. Boot from the WinPE or WinRE UFD, and you can navigate to %programfiles%\Windows Home Connector and root out all those pesky leftover files and directories to make ready for a pristine new install.

Of course, you must be careful when exercising this function: WinPE or WinRE will cheerfully permit you to delete anything and everything you like. Because deleting the wrong files can render a Windows system completely inoperable, we urge you to restrict your impulses and only delete files that reputable sources tell you should be expunged. Please don’t blame us if you do yourself any harm by taking a “let’s-delete-this-and-see-what-happens” approach to this capability! You may not like the results.

Ed Tittel is a freelance writer, trainer, and internet consultant. His work has appeared on many sites, including Tom's Guide, Tom's Hardware, TechTarget, and more. He has also contributed to multiple books, including the "For Dummies" series, where he wrote about HTML, HTML4, XHTML, XML, and CCS. He was also series editor of the Exam Cram books until 2005.