SUMMARY: Successful LS, Unsuccessful RM

From: Sumair Mahmood <>
Date: Thu Jan 31 2002 - 16:54:57 EST
PROBLEM: Deleting Pesky Files

> Have you seen this problem before?  'ls -l' can list file,
> but 'rm' cannot remove it!  I'm trying to delete 'sprcboot.html'

>From p. 81 of my all-time favorite Unix manual, Essential
Systems Administration (O'Reilly):

" is possible for some buggy application program to put a
file into a bizarre, inconclusive state: quasi-directories that rm
interprets as such but rmdir doesn't, [OR, in my case] files that
ls lists but rm can't find, and the like.  Users can also create
such files if they experiment with certain filesystem manipulation

Use the directory editor feature of the emacs editor.

(Many thanks to *ALL* who responded, too many to name!)

> It's probably not the 'ls -l' versus the 'ls' that makes the difference,
it's more likely the 'sprc*' versus the 'sprcboot.html'.  You probably
have an unprintable character in the filename.

Try using 'ls -b' in the directory where the "problem" file is, and
look for a \xxx string (with 3 numbers where the x's are) in the
filename.  For each \xxx number string, put a ? in the filename
you use with the 'rm'.  So, for example if you get
"sprcboot\003.html", try "rm sprcboot?.html".

> Try
	rm -i *
and say 'no' to all but the file you want to delete

> Execute ls -lab sprc* and it might show what it is. The 'b'
will show any strange characters in escaped form. There
might be something in the name of the file that doesn't
show on your screen.

And, if you want to remove it, you can access it by its' inode
number ....
	find . -inum 170669 -exec rm {} \;

> Run 'ls -q' on the directory, which shows non-printable
characters as question marks.

>Try running
	ls -l | od -c | more
to see if there are non printing characters embedded in the

> This should print out the entire filename, including "hidden"
characters such as space:
	for i in `ls -1 sprc*` ; do echo \"$i\" ; done

> It appears that you need to do:
	rm sprc*/sprcboot.html
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Received on Thu Jan 31 15:53:29 2002

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