I tried to delete some directory, but

$ rm DE.aspx_files -r
rm: cannot remove `DE.aspx_files': Directory not empty

But listing its content returns none

$ ls DE.aspx_files

Added: Actually

$ ls -la DE.aspx_files

total 4
drwx------ 1 ting ting 4096 Sep 14 20:48 .
drwx------ 1 ting ting    0 Sep 13 22:34 ..
-rw------- 1 ting ting    0 Sep 13 22:34 .fuse_hidden0001d4bf00000006

When I try to rm .fuse_hidden0001d4bf00000006, it is deleted, but another new .fuse_hidden0001d4bf00000007 created.

So I wonder what happened, and how to fix this problem?

Note: it is a newly bought external portable HDD, and I just copy some files to it using a data recovery program.

OS: Ubuntu 12.04


  • 3
    You need to figure out what's mounting a FUSE filesystem there. Try mount | fgrep fuse to find it, and fusermount -u <mountpoint> to unmount it before trying to delete your directory.
    – CodeGnome
    Sep 15, 2012 at 2:24
  • How do you delete the file without mounting? Aug 31, 2018 at 20:29
  • TL;DR: On Fuse filesystem, close down your terminal or whatever it was that was interacting with the file/folder...
    – Andrew
    Sep 25, 2022 at 23:34

5 Answers 5


Files of the form .fuse_hidden* are created by FUSE filesystems when a file is deleted but still in use somewhere and must still have a directory entry. This is similar to .nfs* files on directories exported over NFS.

Run df -T . to see the type of filesystem that's mounted on the current directory and its mount point. For an external hard disk, chances are that this is an NTFS filesystem mounted through the NTFS-3G driver, which is base on FUSE.

The name is a fake name that the filesystem driver invents for a deleted file. You can't delete the file (or rather, if you create the file, it reappears under another name). You can't delete the directory either, since it isn't empty. You'll need to find what is using this file. The most likely cause of being in use is if it's open by some application. Run lsof /media/mount-point where /media/mount-point is the filesystem mount point and look for an open file in that directory.


For external hard disks this problem could be resolved by,

  • Right Click on the folder and select Move to Trash
  • Empty the Trash

It worked for me even if rm -rf didn't work.

  • 4
    Yes this works. Why?! However the files are then in the trash and are just as problematic. Aug 31, 2018 at 20:16
  • 1
    Had the same problem, did an 'ls -la' on the inner folder and found 'input/output error' and this solution worked perfectly. It also means there may be a larger problem, some disk error (bad block/hardware), that needs fixing or replacement.
    – Ajay Singh
    Nov 21, 2020 at 21:56

Hidden Files

You may have hidden files. You can find them with ls -la to make sure you're okay with really deleting them first. Then you can delete the files before running rm -r or rmdir as needed.

Forcing the Recursive Delete

You can also just do rm -rf to force the recursive deletion even if the target directory contains files. All the usual warnings apply, but it will get the job done regardless of what your directory contains--as long as you have permissions to delete the files and directories, of course.

  • 1
    also, you can run find DE.aspx_files -exec ls -la {} \; to identify hidden files, or files named with special characters. Sep 15, 2012 at 0:49
  • Thanks, I have identified the culprit hidden file, which can be deleted but a new sibling is generated. Please see my added part. Forcing deletion doesn't work either, because "Directory not empty".
    – Tim
    Sep 15, 2012 at 0:52

If on the mac, be aware also of *.localized files, which may become invisible even to 'ls -la', 'find' and their ilk on a FUSE filesystem. [ This discovered using a ConnectedData Transporter-created FUSE filesystem on a MacBook Pro.]


This can happen when you are seeding a file in a torrent client too. Just make sure you shut off the torrent client, or remove the seeding torrent.

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