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Delete multiple files with special characters

September 7Hits:2

I have a machine containing a large number of files that were originally created on a mac with some sort of special character in the name (not sure what). When I do an ls in a bash terminal, these files show up something like the following:

$ ls -al ls: cannot access ._BLM?OAS: No such file or directory ls: cannot access BLM?OAS: No such file or directory total 20476 drwx------+ 43 Integr None       0 Sep  7 09:19 . drwx------+ 16 Integr None       0 Sep  7 09:19 .. -rwx------+  1 Integr None   24580 Jul  6 14:27 .DS_Store ???????????  ? ?      ?          ?            ? ._BLM?OAS drwx------+  2 Integr None       0 Sep  7 09:19 66-North . . . 

Note particularly the errors after the ls and the file with all the ? in it's name. Now I know I can delete the ._ file safely, except that when I try to do that it doesn't work:

$ rm ._*         rm: cannot remove `._BLM?OAS': No such file or directory 

So how can I remove these files? There are literally several hundred of them, so one-by-one doesn't work. I know I can add the -delete flag to find to delete all found files, but doing a 'find . -name "._*" -delete' results in the same error (only repeated hundreds of times). Thanks.


You can remove the file by encasing it in single quotes:

[email protected](/tmp)$ touch '._BLM?OAS'
[email protected](/tmp)$ ls -l ._BLM?OAS
-rw-r--r--  1 wmoore users 0 Sep  7 14:04 ._BLM?OAS
[email protected](/tmp)$ rm -f '._BLM?OAS'
[email protected](/tmp)$ ls -l ._BLM?OAS
/usr/bin/ls: ._BLM?OAS: No such file or directory

However, being as that the files status contains a bunch of question marks, this leads me to believe you have a corrupt filesystem. I recommend a fsck, which may correct the data.

Are these files on an LVM volume? If so, it looks as though you may have lost one or more physical or logical volumes in the volume group. This will cause ls -l to show all those question marks, because ls thinks the file is there (as it is listed in the directory inode), but it will be unable to stat it to get permissions, size, ownership, etc. because the inode is not actually present.

I've had this happen to me before, but in my case LVM was being used by a commercial clustered filesystem (IBRIX), so the solution I used was somewhat specific to that product. Novell has a page describing how you might recover from LVM problems here that might be helpful. CentOS has another one here.

However, if this is just a regular old partition with a non-clustered filesystem sitting on it (e.g. ext3 on /dev/sda5, or whatever), then a simple fsck may be all you need to do.

Definitely check your logs and the output from dmesg. If you really did lose a physical or logical volume, you should see errors from LVM or the underlying hardware devices. That will give you some indication of what really happened, which you'll need to know in order to fix it.

Tags:bash, files

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