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I have a file on my external hard disk named ._Icon^M.I ended up with this after using my hard disk on old Mac platform machine. I want to delete this file but unable to.

For the command 'ls -al' it shows as

dr-xr-xr-x 1 root root 8192 Mar 6 19:53 ..
-????????? ? ?    ?       ?           ? ._Icon?

Seeing this I tried to add ownership (using chown) and modify the permissions(using chmod) but the commands are not recognising ._Icon as file or a directory.

I tried deleting the file using the command -

find . -name '._*' -exec rm '{}' ';'

rm is not able to remove as it is not interpreting it as a file or a directory The console after running the above command is

rm: cannot remove './._Icon\r': No such file or directory

How do I delete such a file?

share|improve this question
Are you able to move via mv command? If so, do you take the ownership so that you can delete it? – Laurent C. Mar 6 '14 at 14:57
@LaurentC. I tried that but its not working either. Edit: It isn't recognising it as a file or a directory – ganesh737 Mar 6 '14 at 14:58
@fedorqui the file is not ._Icom? but ._Icom\r and it is a filesystem problem, not a regular file as you can see from the ls -l output. You won't be able to replicate this unless you use your disk on a mac. – terdon Mar 6 '14 at 15:39
You've got a directory entry that points to an unallocated inode, you'll want to run a fsck. – Stéphane Chazelas Mar 6 '14 at 15:53
@StephaneChazelas Thanks. I ran fsck first. Then the perl script suggested by terdon. It worked. – ganesh737 Mar 6 '14 at 16:05
up vote 3 down vote accepted

A few things you can try:

  • Try to complete the file using tab autocompletion. For example

    rm .[TAB]
  • Move all other files from this directory somewhere else and then delete the directory. That should get rid of the file.

  • Move all other files and just run (assuming GNU find) this:

    find . -type f -delete
  • Delete all files in the directory that start with a dot:

    rm -r .*
  • Get the file's inode and delete it using that. ls -i should show you the inode. Alternatively, run

    find . -printf "%i %f\n"

    Once you have the inode, try deleting using find again:

    find . -inum XXX -delete
  • Try this Perl script. Change dirname for the name of the directory containing the file and run this from the parent directory. So, if your file is ~/foo/file run this in ~/ and change dirname to foo.

    perl  -e 'use File::Path qw(remove_tree); remove_tree("dirname")'
share|improve this answer
I tried but its not working. For the first method you mentioned, after autocompletion it is displayed as "rm ._Icon^M" but it isn't working. Also I have moved all files from the directory and tried using find with -delete option but its not working for me. – ganesh737 Mar 6 '14 at 15:37
@ganesh737 doesn't deleting the directory itself work? Also try rm -r .* – terdon Mar 6 '14 at 15:37
I tried that as "rm -R directory" but it isn't working. – ganesh737 Mar 6 '14 at 15:42
@ganesh737 really? What error message? And rm .*? How about mv the directory somewhere else? Does that work? – terdon Mar 6 '14 at 15:43
the perl script worked after running fsck... Thank you so much!!! – ganesh737 Mar 6 '14 at 16:01

It may be that you cannot remove it because of the CR (\r) character. You can try with the following:

echo -ne "._Icon\r" | xargs rm

And see if it removes it.

share|improve this answer
I tried it but i'm still getting the same output on console from rm command – ganesh737 Mar 6 '14 at 15:28
You don't want the -0 that makes xarg expect null separated strings and that's not what you are passing it. – terdon Mar 6 '14 at 15:30

When I had similar problems I was able to delete files by inode

ls -li

first column is inode

To delete it

find . -inum num_inode | xargs rm
share|improve this answer
Here, the ???? indicate that the lstat fails, so ls -li won't make any difference. – Stéphane Chazelas Mar 6 '14 at 16:02

Such symptoms are normally due to not being able to give the correct file name to rm(1). One solution is doing something like, in this case:

rm -i .*

(i.e., ask for removal of all files called .*, but ask for each one).

To find out what the exact name is, ls -ba (give C escapes for "strange" characters, list all files) might help. There are other (GNU) ls flags that might be of use.

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