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Some files have a * next to them and others don't - why?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

This should only show in the "User" display format. If you mean the type field, per man mc

An asterisk for executable files, a slash for directories, an at-sign for links, an equal sign for sockets, a hyphen for character devices, a plus sign for block devices, a pipe for fifos, a tilde for symbolic links to directories and an exlamation mark for stalled symlinks (links that point nowhere).

Otherwise, if you mean the mark field:

An asterisk if the file is tagged, a space if it's not.

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