I turned on visibility of hidden files, through the terminal command, to do some easy work in Finder on a Mac OS X server. Once I did this I found that there was thousands of (literally) .xyz files on the desktop of the Administrator user.

I have only found that this may be a Chemistry file format, which seems rather unlikely in this particular situation.

Example file name: FC4B47C4FF770F00FFBDFC040ED15D15A7322F34.xyz

Filesize ranges from 600B to 6MB, mostly around 100-300KB; they are in binary format and are hidden but appear to have been opened at some point about 2 years ago.

What is this file and where did it come from?

  • What does file say about the contents of the file ? Ie, from a terminal, run file FC4B47C4FF770F00FFBDFC040ED15D15A7322F34.xyz Sep 5, 2013 at 20:55
  • I found this: google.com/… and this computing.net/answers/mac/what-are-xyz-files-on-mac/13626.html which relates to the same issue
    – scape
    Oct 8, 2013 at 14:40
  • The file information is: data by running file from terminal, it looks like bytes of maybe xml data to shoot in the dark here. Get Info returns: Created on December 31, 1969 7:00PM which is very weird
    – scape
    Oct 8, 2013 at 14:41
  • If they are plain XML files, then just looking at them using less or any other text viewer should give you some idea about where it's coming from, possibly including which application wrote them. The date is just the epoch -- ie the reference date. It is weird, but may be the sign that some program wrote the files directly onto the file system, bypassing the OS. Did you do file recovery recently ? Oct 12, 2013 at 23:15


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