Despite working with SharePoint for a long time now the fact that there are libraries that can’t be deleted by simply going to the list settings page is one of those things that I haven’t come across too often. If there’s no ‘Delete this library’ link what can be done – well, as is becoming the norm, PowerShell to the rescue!
Scenarios where you may see a library like this would be in a site with the publishing feature enabled. For the case of libraries like the Images library, Documents library or even the Site Collection Documents library it is simply not possible to remove them from the lists settings page or the manage content and structure tool.
The reason for this is that on creation the library has been set as False for the property AllowDeletion, as you can see in the screenshot below:
It is obviously possible to delete the library completely using PowerShell (simply by calling the Delete() method on the list) however both for demonstrations purposes – and also so that you can be absolutely sure that you’re deleting the correct library! – I like the approach of updating the AllowDeletion property to True and then deleting the library through the browser.
This can be done with the simple PowerShell below:
$web = Get-SPWeb http://sp2010/sites/publishing $list = $web.Lists["Documents"] $list.AllowDeletion = $True $list.Update()
Did you spot the bonus feature? By doing the above we also enable the ability to save the library as a template too. I haven’t given this a go (as I wanted to get rid of my library not create more from it!) but I can’t immediately think of a reason why it shouldn’t work.
Note – as I was preparing this post I noticed a similar post from an ex-colleague who’d used the same approach to remove a Drop Off Library created by the content organiser feature in SharePoint 2010. You beat me to the punch Paul!
[By the way, in case you’re thinking that this may never be used, I actually had to use it in anger recently when a migration had gone wrong and migrated/ created an image library on a publishing site that couldn’t be deleted any other way.]