Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I recently moved an external drive from my usb-enabled router to my desktop machine, and ran into some permissions-related issues. A number of files were giving me errors when I tried to take ownership or set permissions, and in all my fiddling on a particular file, it somehow got switched to a folder.

Anyone have any idea how this might have happened, and how to flip it back?

Here's a screenshot: enter image description here

share|improve this question
Have you run a chkdsk /f on the drive? It may be corruption. – Paul Jun 7 '12 at 3:57
up vote 1 down vote accepted

The distinction between a file and a folder is usually a single flag in the directory entry containing said file/folder. That said, it seems that maybe this parent directory has incurred some damage, flipping that flag. Since the contents of the (now) folder do not resemble a valid directory structure, it sees it as empty. Chkdsk MIGHT find some errors to be fixed, but unlikely.

If obtaining the contents of the data sectors is important, you need a utility which will allow you to read inodes or just raw sectors. If it's not that important, I'd delete the file and run a GOOD filesystem checker (chkdsk does NOT qualify).

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.