KB: SCCM error: “The directory is not empty”

Problem case:

The deployment is stalling at the step “Wiping volume c”.

As seen below, smsts.log states that it fails to complete installation of the image, with the error: “The directory is not empty”.

Investigating the files on the local drive gave me a clue that some files could not be deleted. The folder “Documents and Settings” was still visible on the local drive C, and a single file in the users documents called “SlideIT.exe “ was not deleted during “Wiping volume c”.

Notice the whitespace in the end of “SlideIT.exe “.

As the deployment was a migration scenario using Hardlink, the drive is wiped (files deleted) and the disk not formatted completely.

If a single file is named with whitespace in the end, a normal delete command cannot delete the file or could be the fact that the process “Wiping volume c” was active and locked the file.


  1. Locate the undeleted files on the local drive while error message is still present
  2. Reboot using a SCCM bootdisk to enter WinPE
  3. Quickly delete the issued files before the error state occurs and the file(s) enter “in use state” using the following commands:
    1. Del /s [directory] – Deletes  folders and subfolders
    2. Rmdir /s [directory] if needed – Deletes an empty folder
    3. Restart deployment
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