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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

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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).

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