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I have both a Mac and Windows machine with a portable hard drive (NTFS) to store all my files. I had a folder on my Mac that has an invalid name for Windows, it contained a ":". In a shuffle of upgrading my Mac I had deleted all the files off of my old one and in between deleting those files and transferring over to the new Mac I had plugged the hard drive into the Windows machine and, not thinking, hit the repair button when it said that the drive had errors.

Now I can not see the folder on the Mac (OSX 10.8) at all and on the Windows (Win 7) machine it shows up but I can not access it. I have tried to upload the folder from the portable hard drive to Google Drive but Drive didn't respond at all to the upload.

I also tried to rename the folder and as I suspected that did not work.

Is there a way to recover this folder back to the Mac?

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What filesystem? Why is the name invalid? Can you please give the file name? Did you do a chkdsk? (I would not do that right now because I am not sure what Windows will do with a file with an invalid name.) – Werner Henze May 30 '13 at 13:53
@WernerHenze I added that info, and I did not do a chkdsk. – TronicZomB May 30 '13 at 14:11
Have you tried cmd rename \\?\{from as now} {to something acceptable}? – pnuts May 30 '13 at 16:13
@pnuts same result as MichaelKohne's answer... – TronicZomB May 30 '13 at 16:16

Have you tried renaming via the command line?

Here's how I'd attack the problem from Windows:

  • Move all other files/folders out of the folder with the 'badly named' folder in it.
  • open a command prompt and change to the directory containing the 'bad folder'.
  • type the command 'rename * bob'

The idea is to get rename to operate on the thing by using wildcards. By making it the only thing in the folder, rename should be able to do what you want.

On Mac OS, I'd do approximately the same thing, but the rename command would be 'mv * bob'.

In both cases be careful that the 'bad folder' is the only thing in the directory, otherwise you'll get weird (and potentially destructive) behavior. If you can, copy the containing folder (bad folder and all) in order to have a backup if something goes wrong.

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It says "The system cannot find the file specified". Maybe somehow the repair deleted it yet kept a reference to the folder? – TronicZomB May 30 '13 at 16:10
Thank you, I have found a solution. – TronicZomB May 30 '13 at 18:18
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I installed the trial software for Tuxera NTFS for Mac. After that my Mac was able to view the folder that Windows had hidden(?) during the repair and said was an invalid file name and I can now get access to the files again (at least viewing them, I will be working on copying them to a safe place in short order).

EDIT: I was able to completely copy and open/access every folder & file and create a new backup.

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