Solution! Using Robocopy to completely delete a directory.

Folder within a folder within a folder within a folder within a folder within a folder within a folder ……………until you hit a point where you cannot delete anymore.

Files that have become undeleteable by normal means due to long filenames or too many folders inside one another?

Just use these commands below.

mkdir empty_dir
robocopy empty_dir  <space> the_dir_to_delete /s /mir
rmdir empty_dir
rmdir the_dir_to_delete

Robocopy

Updated: April 17, 2012

Applies To: Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows 8

Copies file data.

robocopy <Source> <Destination> [<File>[ ...]] [<Options>]
Parameter Description
<Source> Specifies the path to the source directory.
<Destination> Specifies the path to the destination directory.
<File> Specifies the file or files to be copied. You can use wildcard characters (* or ?), if you want. If the File parameter is not specified, *.* is used as the default value.
<Options> Specifies options to be used with the robocopy command.
Option Description
/s Copies subdirectories. Note that this option excludes empty directories.
/e Copies subdirectories. Note that this option includes empty directories. For additional information, see Remarks.
/lev:<N> Copies only the top N levels of the source directory tree.
/z Copies files in Restart mode.
/b Copies files in Backup mode.
/zb Uses Restart mode. If access is denied, this option uses Backup mode.
/efsraw Copies all encrypted files in EFS RAW mode.
/copy:<CopyFlags> Specifies the file properties to be copied. The following are the valid values for this option:

D Data

A Attributes

T Time stamps

S NTFS access control list (ACL)

O Owner information

U Auditing information

The default value for CopyFlags is DAT (data, attributes, and time stamps).

/dcopy:T Copies directory time stamps.
/sec Copies files with security (equivalent to /copy:DAT).
/copyall Copies all file information (equivalent to /copy:DATSOU).
/nocopy Copies no file information (useful with /purge).
/secfix Fixes file security on all files, even skipped ones.
/timfix Fixes file times on all files, even skipped ones.
/purge Deletes destination files and directories that no longer exist in the source. For additional information, see Remarks.
/mir Mirrors a directory tree (equivalent to /e plus /purge). For additional information, see Remarks.
/mov Moves files, and deletes them from the source after they are copied.
/move Moves files and directories, and deletes them from the source after they are copied.
/a+:[RASHCNET] Adds the specified attributes to copied files.
/a-:[RASHCNET] Removes the specified attributes from copied files.
/create Creates a directory tree and zero-length files only.
/fat Creates destination files by using 8.3 character-length FAT file names only.
/256 Turns off support for very long paths (longer than 256 characters).
/mon:<N> Monitors the source, and runs again when more than N changes are detected.
/mot:<M> Monitors source, and runs again in M minutes if changes are detected.
/MT[:N] Creates multi-threaded copies with N threads. N must be an integer between 1 and 128. The default value for N is 8.

The /MT parameter cannot be used with the /IPG and /EFSRAW parameters.

Redirect output using /LOG option for better performance.

System_CAPS_noteNote
The /MT parameter applies to Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7.
/rh:hhmm-hhmm Specifies run times when new copies may be started.
/pf Checks run times on a per-file (not per-pass) basis.
/ipg:n Specifies the inter-packet gap to free bandwidth on slow lines.
/sl Copies the symbolic link instead of the target.
System_CAPS_importantImportant
When using the /SECFIX copy option, specify the type of security information you want to copy by also using one of these additional copy options:

  • /COPYALL
  • /COPY:O
  • /COPY:S
  • /COPY:U
  • /SEC
Option Description
/a Copies only files for which the Archive attribute is set.
/m Copies only files for which the Archive attribute is set, and resets the Archive attribute.
/ia:[RASHCNETO] Includes only files for which any of the specified attributes are set.
/xa:[RASHCNETO] Excludes files for which any of the specified attributes are set.
/xf <FileName>[ …] Excludes files that match the specified names or paths. Note that FileName can include wildcard characters (* and ?).
/xd <Directory>[ …] Excludes directories that match the specified names and paths.
/xct Excludes changed files.
/xn Excludes newer files.
/xo Excludes older files.
/xx Excludes extra files and directories.
/xl Excludes “lonely” files and directories.
/is Includes the same files.
/it Includes “tweaked” files.
/max:<N> Specifies the maximum file size (to exclude files bigger than N bytes).
/min:<N> Specifies the minimum file size (to exclude files smaller than N bytes).
/maxage:<N> Specifies the maximum file age (to exclude files older than N days or date).
/minage:<N> Specifies the minimum file age (exclude files newer than N days or date).
/maxlad:<N> Specifies the maximum last access date (excludes files unused since N).
/minlad:<N> Specifies the minimum last access date (excludes files used since N) If N is less than 1900, N specifies the number of days. Otherwise, N specifies a date in the format YYYYMMDD.
/xj Excludes junction points, which are normally included by default.
/fft Assumes FAT file times (two-second precision).
/dst Compensates for one-hour DST time differences.
/xjd Excludes junction points for directories.
/xjf Excludes junction points for files.
Option Description
/r:<N> Specifies the number of retries on failed copies. The default value of N is 1,000,000 (one million retries).
/w:<N> Specifies the wait time between retries, in seconds. The default value of N is 30 (wait time 30 seconds).
/reg Saves the values specified in the /r and /w options as default settings in the registry.
/tbd Specifies that the system will wait for share names to be defined (retry error 67).
Option Description
/l Specifies that files are to be listed only (and not copied, deleted, or time stamped).
/x Reports all extra files, not just those that are selected.
/v Produces verbose output, and shows all skipped files.
/ts Includes source file time stamps in the output.
/fp Includes the full path names of the files in the output.
/bytes Prints sizes, as bytes.
/ns Specifies that file sizes are not to be logged.
/nc Specifies that file classes are not to be logged.
/nfl Specifies that file names are not to be logged.
/ndl Specifies that directory names are not to be logged.
/np Specifies that the progress of the copying operation (the number of files or directories copied so far) will not be displayed.
/eta Shows the estimated time of arrival (ETA) of the copied files.
/log:<LogFile> Writes the status output to the log file (overwrites the existing log file).
/log+:<LogFile> Writes the status output to the log file (appends the output to the existing log file).
/unicode Displays the status output as Unicode text.
/unilog:<LogFile> Writes the status output to the log file as Unicode text (overwrites the existing log file).
/unilog+:<LogFile> Writes the status output to the log file as Unicode text (appends the output to the existing log file).
/tee Writes the status output to the console window, as well as to the log file.
/njh Specifies that there is no job header.
/njs Specifies that there is no job summary.
Option Description
/job:<JobName> Specifies that parameters are to be derived from the named job file.
/save:<JobName> Specifies that parameters are to be saved to the named job file.
/quit Quits after processing command line (to view parameters).
/nosd Indicates that no source directory is specified.
/nodd Indicates that no destination directory is specified.
/if Includes the specified files.

 

  • The /mir option is equivalent to the /e plus /purge options with one small difference in behavior:
    • With the /e plus /purge options, if the destination directory exists, the destination directory security settings are not overwritten.
    • With the /mir option, if the destination directory exists, the destination directory security settings are overwritten.

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