Every once in a while I encounter user profiles for employees who have long since left the company that need to be deleted.

In the example below, I have a user account: "dmacdonald" that I want to delete.  The profile consumes 2 GB of storage, their user data folder another 6GB.

Step 1: Delete the user Profile from User Profiles tool:

The fastest way to get to the System Utility for user profiles:


Is to just key “User Profile” into the start menu and choose the  “Configure advanced user profile properties” link.


You can then select a profile, and then click the “Delete” button.


Normally this is all that’s required to delete the files and folders.

But this time, although it DID delete the profile from the User Profile utility and did delete the \Users\dmacdonald folder it did not actually delete the UserData files.  Those files if you attempt to access them still show Permission Denied, but using a tool like SpaceSniffer.exe I could see that the folder was still consuming nearly 6GB of storage so I didn’t just want to leave it around.


You could click through the continue boxes, and manually try to seize ownership of EACH sub-folder one at a time, and then after doing so grant yourself permission to the folder, but you don’t have time for that.  So instead, use these commands:

To fix this run these commands from an administrator command prompt:

takeown /F dmacdonald /R /D "Y"

Followed by:

icacls dmacdonald /grant Everyone:F /T

After that you can access the files and/or delete them.