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Suddenly some *attributes files started to appeared in the trash folder of my mac os x (snow leopard).

The problem is I can't delete them.

// 1. See there is a file with an invalid name 
MAC:libs cran$ ls
commons-io-2.0.1.jar:com.dropbox.attributes

// 2. That I can't delete  
MAC:libs cran$ rm commons-io-2.0.1.jar\:com.dropbox.attributes 
rm: commons-io-2.0.1.jar:com.dropbox.attributes: No such file or directory

// 3. The only file here
MAC:libs cran$ ls -a
.
..
commons-io-2.0.1.jar:com.dropbox.attributes

// 4. But I can't do anything with it
MAC:libs cran$ ls -l
ls: commons-io-2.0.1.jar:com.dropbox.attributes: No such file or directory

// 5. Trying to delete parent folder
MAC:iome.desktop cran$ rm -rf libs
rm: libs: Directory not empty

// 6. Trying to use wildcards 
MAC:libs cran$ rm commons-*
rm: commons-io-2.0.1.jar:com.dropbox.attributes: No such file or directory

// 7. Trying to delete parent folder
MAC:iome.desktop cran$ rmdir libs
rm: libs: Directory not empty

// 8. Retrieving the inode
MAC:libs cran$ ls -i
ls: commons-io-2.0.1.jar:com.dropbox.attributes: No such file or directory
3408401 commons-io-2.0.1.jar

// 8. Remove the file by inode
MAC:libs cran$ find . -inum 3408401 -exec rm -i {} \;
remove ./commons-io-2.0.1.jar? y
find: ./commons-io-2.0.1.jar:com.dropbox.attributes: No such file or directory

// 9. Repair the disk permission 

// 10. Fix the ACL (while booting from an external drive)

I ran a fsck -fy hoping that it would clean them, but to no avail. I want to install bootcamp on my computer. But now that I feel that the filesystem is messed, I'm a bit afraid about creating new partitions and whatnot.

I tried to use xattr to remove the file, but once again, to no avail :

MAC:libs cran$ touch commons-io-2.0.1.jar

// a. Trying to remove attr 
MAC:libs cran$ xattr -d com.dropbox.attributes commons-io-2.0.1.jar 
xattr: commons-io-2.0.1.jar: No such xattr: com.dropbox.attributes

// b. Trying to remove attr 
MAC:libs cran$ xattr -d com.dropbox commons-io-2.0.1.jar 
xattr: commons-io-2.0.1.jar: No such xattr: com.dropbox

I ran all those tests in normal mode and single user mode. Do you know how I can get rid of those files ?

share|improve this question
    
find -delete didn't work either? – Daniel Beck Jan 29 '13 at 16:46
    
I haven't tested it. But find ... rm didn't. Fortunately, I don't have the files anymore :) – Name is carl Jan 29 '13 at 17:44
up vote 1 down vote accepted

My hat off to the genuises of the Apple Store of Lyon Part Dieu, France.

The rationale behind the solution is : if you can't delete something, try to move it some other place.

What Adrien and Vincent did :

  • rename .trash to badtrash
  • create another .trash folder. Now my trash is working as expected but the undeletable files are still on my computer. But wait, there is more :)
  • boot the mac from another system located on an external harddrive
  • change the permission of badtrash so it can be deleted
  • delete badtrash
  • empty the trash

Tadah !

Now my undeletable files are now on the external drive. Which is not a problem : neither for me, neither for Adrien and Vincent as the external drive will be reformatted soon.

Classy solution, eh ?

Thanks to the great Apple store team at Lyon Part Dieu.

share|improve this answer

While in that directory, try:

rm commons

and then press the Tab key (this should autocomplete the file name) and after that Enter.

Disclaimer: I am not sure if deleting such files could cause any trouble.

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks for your reply. I did that (see 2.) but unfortunately it doesn't work. – Name is carl Jan 27 '13 at 18:53
    
I didn't realize that it came from autocomplete. What if you try rm commons*? or if you delete the whole directory from one level up? – lupincho Jan 27 '13 at 18:55
    
Unfortunately, it didn't work either (I updated the question with 5, 6 and 7). But nice ideas, by the way. – Name is carl Jan 27 '13 at 19:02
    
Also, what xattr option did you try? One thing that I am not sure is what happens with the extended attributes when the original file is missing, this may have something to do with the problem and you may need to create a fake original file to delete the atributes with xattr, say touch commons-io-2.0.1.jar and then xattr -c commons-io-2.0.1.jar – lupincho Jan 27 '13 at 19:02
    
Already did that. But it failed too. Somehow I feel I have to use low level utils : directly manipulating inodes or something like that. Because the file is obviously invalid so I doubt that the file system could return a valid file descriptor for my attributes files... – Name is carl Jan 27 '13 at 19:10

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