On Windows drives, even an external USB drive, you’ll see a folder called System Volume Information. And you will only see this folder if the current set of files and folders hidden on the system only. What is the “System Volume Information” folder, and can I delete this folder? The answer will be in the article below.
1. Why can not open folder?
On NTFS file system drives, the System Volume Information folder is set to prevent all users from accessing, even the Admin. When you double click on the folder and the screen will display an error message saying “location is not available” and “access is denied”. This is quite normal.
The reason is because Windows uses this directory for the “advanced” features of the system. The directory access is set to prevent any user from accessing the files inside and interfering with important system functions.
2. Customize the System Volume Information folder
In addition to some important settings, Windows stores System Restore points at this directory.
If you want to shrink the System Volume Information folder, you can do so in the Control Panel. Access Control Panel => System and Security => System => System Protection. Under Protection Settings you can choose to enable System Restore and adjust the Windows drive space used for System Restore points.
It is possible to disable System Protection for a disk rather than actually removing the System Volume Information folder. Windows stores many restore points here.
For example, the System Volume Information folder contains information that is used by Indexing Service Indexing Service databases – Speed up the search of files, Volume Shadow Copy services for backups and databases. The Distributed Link Tracking Service is used to fix shortcuts and links.
If your drive is formatted as an exFAT or FAT32 file system or portable hard drive (USB drive, etc.), you can open the System Volume Information folder and view the files in that folder.
For example, on the USB drive you can see two files, IndexerVolumeGuid and WPSettings.dat.
File IndexerVolumeGuid assigns a unique identifier for this drive. Windows Indexing service checks the files on the drive and indexes these files. When you connect this drive to your computer, Windows checks the identifier and will know which database you search for with which drive.
You can also use the Windows search feature, such as the Search Box on the Start Menu, Windows 10’s Cortana, or the Search Box on the File Explorer or Windows Explorer to search for files on a drive quickly.
WPSettings.dat is a file created by the Windows service but not sure what the task of this file is. There is no official document on this file yet.
3. Can the System Volume Information folder be deleted?
You should not delete the System Volume Information folder. On NTFS drives, Windows does not allow users to access this folder. On drives with exFAT or FAT32 format, you can choose to delete the folder but Windows will “rebuild” that folder in the future if necessary.
Windows stores important system data in the System Volume Information folder, so you should not change the permissions of the folder or delete the folder.
If the System Volume Information folder takes up too much space, you can reduce the amount of free space available for System Restore on Windows. Or if you do not want to see the System Volume Information folder, you can hide the files and folders.