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I am trying to remove a file using rm. However, if I do ls, all the information about the file is ?????? ?? ?? example.txt... And calling rm returns that no such file exists. How can I force a remove of the file?

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The questionmarks could also mean your file name contains characters your terminal can not display. Does ls -lha provide more information? – matthias krull Aug 2 '10 at 15:35
up vote 0 down vote accepted

You can try: rm -f example.txt

Or touch example.txt && rm -f example.txt (update timestamp on the file first)

Or chmod 777 example.txt && rm -f example.txt (set readable, writeable, executable then remove it).

As suggested above, fsck is a good idea as well.

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Someone care to explain why this answer is -1? – Mistiry Aug 3 '10 at 21:58
Don't know. I can see nothing wrong with it. I upvoted, but it should be at 1 now... – pypmannetjies Aug 4 '10 at 7:36
Did any of those fix your problem? Thanks for the upvote! – Mistiry Aug 4 '10 at 21:21

Depends on the filesystem used, but most of the time you need to check the filesystem with fsck (the variant of it, whatever your filesystem is).

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