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I am trying to delete a folder in my home directory; its name is completely garbled. In Nautilus, the garbled text is followed by 'Invalid Directory.'

Deleting it with Nautilus stalls; I can't type in the garbled name in the terminal.

peter@io_vbox:~$ ls -lbdR *
drwxrwxr-x 3 peter peter      4096 Jul 28 15:19 \346>\3152\357+\332)\363*\356,\253-\277+H&\266\033z\v\373\366\340\340?\314\022\274P\262\003\260鵿\303p\326\342\351\214\374f\016X\036r)!.\026

Any ideas?

Running 12.04; if it's of any importance, this is running in VirtualBox on a Macbook Air. It was installed through VirtualBox. I don't have any other signs of SSD failure that I've picked up on -- referring to this question: Random files (invalid encoding) appearing in home directory


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What do you mean by "this is emulated in VirtualBox" - do you have a clone of your machine or another virtual machine and those files also appear there? – Sergey Aug 31 '12 at 0:11
@Peter, Please can you post the output from ls -ldR * while in your home dir and post the line with the directory in question? – Sparky Aug 31 '12 at 0:44
@Sergey, Thanks for the feedback; it's not a clone. This only concerns one installation. – Peter Becich Aug 31 '12 at 0:44
up vote 7 down vote accepted

When a file / dir has special characters and won't delete, you can try to remove it using it's inode number more information on inodes in ext3.

To do so,

  1. open a terminal window.
  2. Change directory cd to the location of the files or directories with the "special characters".
  3. Run

    ls -lbdRi *
    1312883 drwxrwxr-x 2 me me 4096 Aug 31 11:49 special-character`

    Note the "inode" number (Here 1312883)

  4. Then run a find and remove on that "inode"

     find . -inum 1312883 -exec rm -rf {} \;
     find: ``./special-character': No such file or directory
  5. and then to make sure that is has gone.

     ls -lbdRi *
     ls: cannot access *: No such file or directory

I hope that this helps.

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Awesome! It worked. How did you manage to replicate my problem, to solve it? Thanks – Peter Becich Sep 2 '12 at 0:05

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