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I'm using OS X and I see these ~ directories sometime appear my directories. I know Unix and I know that ~ represents the home directory, but these other ~ directories appear elsewhere and they aren't symbolic or hard links either. What's causing this?

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Some example names? Or is the name always just a lone tilde? –  JRobert Oct 3 '10 at 14:11
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It seems likely that some app is trying to write files to your home directory, but the programmer has been lazy and used the '~' shorthand in the code, which won't work, instead of /Users/<shortname>.

The thread Mysterious Tilde (~) Folder shows how to delete it, but it comes back later on.

The thread Mysterious Tilde Folder Appeared claims that this directory is created by Apple Software Update.
If that's really the case, then this is simply a bug in Apple software, and there is no way to get rid of it permanently.

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And the reason the '~' doesn't work in program code is that it's the shell (such as bash) rather than the file system routines that expands the tilde when it's used on the command line. –  ak2 Oct 3 '10 at 21:17
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