You Know What Really Bugs Me?

You know what really bugs me about Windows XP? When you can’t get rid of a file. Right now I’ve got a file called msocust.dll in a folder labeled 31fb6abfaf5b464fbfd2 on one of my external hard drives and I can’t get rid of it. I can’t delete it. I get an error message that says access is denied. I tried getting rid of it with a little appliction called Gipo Move on boot that is supposed to delete it prior to boot and still that doesn’t work. I’ve googled msocust.dll and nothing comes up, nothing in web, nothing in groups.

First, what the hell is it? And second and more importantly why do files exist in Windows THAT I CANNOT KILL!

I really wish that Microsoft would come up with a command that says, yes, I know that you think that you are better and wiser than me and that me and my little tiny mind should not be allowed to play with a file like this, but what the hey, life’s short, I like to live on the edge. Let me delete this just one little one, how about it? Maybe after 14 or 15 warnings the system would just let down and let you delete it. How about that. As it stands now, the only way to get rid of this file is to reformat the external drive that it is on. A royal pain in the ass. And this is not the first time this has happened.

Can someone at Microsoft explain to me why you can’t come up with software that would allow me this capability?

Update: So far no one has been able to tell me what this file is but I am noticing that I am getting more and more Google searches for the file landing at my blog which is the only entry for this file at present under Google. Obviously others have encountered this file but I still have no clue as to what it is.

Update, #2: After following the instructions of my third comment on this post, (actually I right clicked on the folder though and instead of security went to properties and chose to share this file on the network and with all users of this PC) I was able to delete it. Muchas Gracias and thanks for the tip whoever you are anonymous third comment poster. Hopefully if others find this file via Google they can do the same thing.

31 Replies to “You Know What Really Bugs Me?”

  1. Thomas try going through a MSDOS Prompt to delete hard to delete files (just make sure you don’t need the file!)

    You can do this by opening an MSDOS Command Prompt Usually found by going through:


    Once you get a MSDOS screen it should give you a drive usually it gives “C:\”

    Type “Edit” to get a blue edit screen

    Next, Click FILE and then OPEN

    Find the file you want to delete and then Open it

    You should now have a blue screen with a bunch of wierd looking numbers/letters/keyboard characters

    Use your mouse to highlight all the content in the blue screen.

    Once highlighted press the ‘DELETE” key (Note* don’t press ‘backspace’ to delete)

    Once content is deleted save the file.

    then go to the file as you would normaly and delete it.

    If the above approach does not work check to make sure the file is not a ‘read only’ file. You can do this by right clicking on the file and going into Properties. There should be a box marked “read-only” make sure it is not checked. If it is checked uncheck it and try the above approach.

    What you are doing here is removing all the code that composes the target file. Sometimes files will contain codes that virtually tell windows not to let the user delete. Although, these are common in virus programs some window system files contain similiar coding.

    If AFTER!! you have succesfully deleted the content of the file and it still won’t let you delete it. Try to restart. Often files can’t be deleted because they are currently in use by a windows program.

    -Jay Peterson

  2. My guess is that the file is “in use” because it is a loaded DLL. Boot into safe mode and try deleting the file there. In safe mode, Windows loads the bare minimum number of drivers and services, which will leave that file unloaded.

  3. you’ll have to take ownership of the file to delete it. if you’re running xp pro, right click on the folder containing it, go to security, and give yourself access. you can just give full access to EVERYONE if you like. if you’re running xp home, you gotta do this from safe mode.

  4. I notice that every time installation of “Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer for XP Service Pack 2 (KB834707)” fails that the msocust.dll file is created.

  5. I have the file on my computer too… what is this fucking file doing? Is it an important file?

  6. Indeed, moving it to a shared folder, and then removed the complete folder, this works great, also in Holland.

  7. Indeed, moving it to a shared folder, and then removed the complete folder, this works great, also in Sweden.

  8. I have a similar problem with this file except that it somehow exists on my striped raid array. I was not successful with any of the above techniques (i.e. deleting through MSDOS prompt, changing properties to shared, etc). Any attempt to change properties or delete is not allowed because “file is in use”. The properties do not show it to be a read only file. I tried to boot into safe mode and try the same procedures, but I got the same error message, i.e. file is in use. I haven’t been able to find a solution yet. The only thing I can think of trying is to delete the raid array (either inactivate it through device manager or through the bios) and then re-enable it. Obviously, I would have to back up the data before I try it. I would appreciate any other suggestions.

  9. None of the posted tricks helped. I believe this is a hacking tool, because at the same time I cannot update my windows anymore.

  10. Unfortunately no of the hints above worked on my PC.
    My solution: I made a backup of my USB drive, deleted the file there, formatted the USB drive and copied the data back to my USB drive.

  11. I had to “allow network users to change my files” under the sharing menu. Afterwards I was able to delete.

  12. I’m just wondering if it has something to do with Microsoft Office? I have another directory called “MSOCache”, and in it there are some files related to MS Office keys.

    However, the .DLL was on my USB drive, the MSOCache is on my C: drive.


  13. This indeed is for Microsoft Office as the folder named with seemingly nonsense hex glyphs is mapped in the registration database. If you run a search on the hex glyphs through the reg.db you’ll probably find an entry of the name PendingFileRenameOperations carrying the search as data value.
    This indicates that some office file, i.e. word, is opened for renaming. Try closing all Office applications 😉

  14. thanks soooooo much for this page! You’re like the only one that mentions the file on google, and you’re the only one that helps.
    That’s crazy how you can only deleate it through file sharing, I couldn’t even deleate it through knoppix (linux)!
    Thanks again!

  15. Be certain that you know what the file you believe should be deleted is for before you try this utility:

    Unlocker 1.7.0

    An explorer extension that allow you (with a simple right-click of the mouse on a file or folder) to prevent error messages like:
    “error deleting file or folder, cannot delete folder: it is used by another person or program.”

    * Changes in 1.7.0:New functionality: help deleting, renaming and moving objects even if no handle exist. If previous versions of Unlocker only told you “No locking handle found”, this new version should help you solve your problems
    * New functionality: Short/Long/UNC name file deleting, renaming and moving operations to delete badly named objects. If you do not know what I am talking about, run this batch file and try to delete the folders created at the root of the C: drive without Unlocker and you will understand 😀
    * New functionality: delete, rename, move on next boot
    * New functionality: improved delete. Now C:\Documents and Settings\username\Cookies\index.dat can be deleted without killing processes
    * Improved UI: the webpage link of the update alert is clickable now
    * Improved UI: items can be sorted when clicking the listview columns titles
    * New Language: Estonian thanks to Mihkel Tonnov for the translation
    * New Language: Spanish thanks to Javier L. for the translation
    * Fixed bug: the explorer extension does not use msvcrt71.dll anymore since it is not installed by default
    * Fixed bug: multiple selection delete and move should work now

    Some comments by other users:
    by NuovaCarne, Jul 11, 5:00pm
    no more “Cannot delete file: Access is denied There has been a sharing violation. The source or destination file may be in use. The file is in use by another program or user. Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected and that the file is not currently in use.”

    by Ghostsurfer, May 16, 10:57am
    If this realy works its fantastic in one word!?.
    by Draconis, May 14, 12:58pm
    For some reason Windows doesn’t allow you to delete files sometimes… This program will override windows overprotectiveness.

  16. I’m glad I finally found this post. I have been having trouble with files and folders on an external USB hard drive that I cannot delete. The files were created on and saved to the Maxtor external drive with my Apple iBook (OS X). The hard drive is connected to a Windows machine running XP Pro, which is on a peer to peer network with 5 other machines.

    Once the files were saved from OS X to the external volume, neither the Windows machine nor the Apple were able to delete them – stating I did not have permission. The properties did not indicated that the files were Read Only.

    I was able to use Unlocker, by Cedric Collomb, to get rid of the files. I was not able to delete them directly. I had to use Unlocker to change the file name, then I was able to delete the files one by one.

  17. I found this file too on a hard drive. It was in a folder labeled ‘fc3354d86a80b0a3ac18aeaf5a’ I had to drag the folder into another folder then delete the file.

  18. Hey, saw this file on my disk and came upon this 2004 post when I googled it. I believe this is part of a generic process MS uses to rename files on restart. If you search the registry you’ll find this DLL pointed to by a data value in the key PendingFileRenameOperations. If you look at the other data in that key it points to the files to be renamed. In my case it was due to the fact that I had installed a MS patch earlier and had forgotten to restart. If it doesn’t disappear on a reboot then for some reason Windows isn’t picking up the rename.

  19. I bet you’re right, I just installed some updates yesterday, and I haven’t rebooted yet. I found the file sitting on my harddrive in a cryptic folder (looks a lot like a base64 encoding of a 128bit hash, like md5)

  20. Just found similar file…the posting recommending making a new folder and dragging it into it then delete worked for me. Thanks a bunch.

  21. I am so very glad I found this post. I was having this exact problem, and the method described in the second update of this post fixed that problem right up. This is an amazingly stupid problem and I’m really glad I’m rid of it. Thanks!

  22. What’s worse is that if you accidentally drag another file into this folder, you lose complete access to it!! I was trying to teach my dad how to backup his files to cd. Well, using drag and drop, he goes to drop his files onto D: and missed by a smidge. As he’s on top of C:, it expands, he let’s go of the mouse to drop on D: and accidentally drops on this protected folder inside C: b/c it’s the first in the list after it expands. Now the files aren’t accessible anymore. Can’t move them, delete them, or run them.

    Thanks to this post, I was able to help him get them back. Sharing the file for all users did the trick. Thanks a lot.

  23. Indeed, moving it to a shared folder, and then removed the complete folder, this works great, also in Thailand.

  24. Thank you so much i could not figure out how to get rid of this file either, and your site was helpful

  25. Personally when I REALLY cant delete a file, I shut down every system task possible without actually shutting down the computer, then delete it with the Command Prompt. Doing that you can even delete IE.

  26. Hi, I've been searching solutions to delete the file and grateful to find your post. I've tried the to move it to a shared folder, and then removed the complete folder, this works great. Thanks for the sharing & help given 🙂

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