SUMMARY: Deleteing Null directories

From: John Horne (
Date: Fri Apr 24 1998 - 03:40:55 CDT

Many thanks to all the people who replied - a lot of you!

Some people misunderstood the problem, or suggested something like 'rm -iRf
*'. That's okay, but this is in the root directory of a live system - so I'd
rather not do that :-)

One answer was to use 'ls -li' (or some such) to obtain the i-node number of
the entry - this will always be unique and thus can be used with the find
command to subsequently delete the entry. (I'll do this if the below doesn't

Casper Dik, and anothers, suggested that the name actually was "(null)" since
no such string appears in the ls command. Another user had also had this
problem and deleted the entry with the "(null)" name itself. Worth trying
next time. I admit I didn't think of that! Oops!

Other users (apologies I mean 'managers'!) reported having the same problem.
This then suggests that it's probably not something we in particular are
doing, but particular to Solaris 2.5.1/2.6? You have been warned :-)

Many thanks to everyone again.

Original message:


I've recently had a problem with a directory appearing at the root level. The
problem has been that the directory has no name - 'ls -l' simply shows it as
"(null)". I have been able to delete the directory by using find and '-exec'
with a combination of the directories properties (owner, group, permissions,
etc) in order to single out this one directory.

My question is that if the directory is not unique in its attributes, then
how can I delete it? How can I specify to delete a directory which has no

System is an Ultra 1 running Solaris 2.5.1 (although I did see this on our
2.6 system a while ago as well).

Thanks in advance,


John Horne E-mail:
Computing Service Phone : +44 (0) 1752 - 233911
University of Plymouth, UK Fax : +44 (0) 1752 - 233919

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