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Windows 2000 "Black Hole" Folder

Posted on 2004-09-01
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-03

Windows 2000 machine running Imail Server under NTFS.
Norton Antivirus scanned inside mail "Spool" folder, I guess corrupting files inside.
Folder was successfully moved and renamed to take care of problem with Imail.
Left with "oldspool" folder on desktop.


This folder cannot be deleted. I don't believe this to be a permission problem. I am unable to run some scans as they will scan this folder indefinately.

What I've tried:

Under 2000 GUI - Dropping in recycle bin.
Using a file shredding program.
Killing explorer.exe and deleting from a command prompt.
Moving to a temporary second HDD.

From repair console: Using "del" command on folder.
Running "chkdsk".
Using del *.* inside the folder.

Odd things I've noted:

If I right click on the file and click properties, size and size on disk grow infinitely.
Double-clicking the folder will open the folder and it will show 0 files and 0 folders but with an hourglass cursor if I hover over the window.
If I drop a file in the folder it is not displayed. However if I drop another file in the folder with the same name, I will get an overwrite error.
I never get an error when trying to delete the folder, just a never ending deleting notice.

This is crazy. Any ideas? I'll try anything at this point. I also tried using a marker the same color as the desktop and coloring the monitor over the folder. This appeared to work, but I still have problems.
Question by:hharding
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LVL 57

Accepted Solution

Pete Long earned 1000 total points
ID: 11953696
Can’t Delete a File

You need permissions to delete a file are you a member of the Administrators group?
(you need a minimum of {modify} to delete.
1.      Try to take ownership of the file. Right click the file > Select the security Tab
Select properties > Select Advanced > Select Owner
Find the User or group you wish to give ownership to and select > Click apply
Now try and delete the file
2      Is it telling you the filename is too long? Then Delete the file in DOS mode
Start >Run >cmd {enter}
Navigate to the folder the file is in, i.e. if its in c:\folder\anotherfolder\file, type "cd c:\folder\anotherfolder" {enter} The command prompt should change to let you know you are in
the correct directory. Type "dir /x" {enter}
The offending file will be listed like (filena~1.xxx)
Take note of the name and type "del filena~1.xxx" {enter}
3.      Is the file flagged as ‘System’? Start > Run > type CMD >Click OK
Navigate to the folder in which the file resides (i.e. cd c:\folder\folder\ {enter})
Type attrib -r -s -a -h filename.extension {enter}
Del filename.extension {enter}
4.      Is the file in use? If either the OS or another program is using the file you cannot
delete it You can with ZAP Included with the Microsoft SMS 2.0 Resource Guide and the
Microsoft BackOffice Resource Kit 4.5. or you can download it here
WARNING make sure you know what your deleting first!
5.      If your hard drive is formatted with FAT32 you can boot with a boot disk and Delete
the file from DOS. (del filename.extension) If your hard drive is formatted with NTFS you
can boot with a boot disk and, if you lucky enough to have a copy of NTFSPro from http://www.sysinternals.com/ntw2k/freeware/ntfsdospro.shtml you can boot to DOS mount the
NTFS volumes and delete it from there.

**Other Options**
Use this on the file/folder in question

Try using TAKEOWN from the resource kit to force ownership and delete the file

Try using "KillBox" on the file

"Access Denied" When You Delete Folders from a Mounted Drive

Expert Comment

ID: 11957488
I have had this problem happen before on my windows XP box were a file or folder just cannot be deleted no matter what you do,  The solution, i find, is either A: put that harddrive in anouther 2000 system or B: use a bootable cd-rom called BARTPE which boots a minimum Windows XP system, it builds of a currect xp/2000 cd-rom so if you have one, download and build it (when i say build, i do not mean compile, i mean it builds a iso that you can burn to a cd and boot off of)
Hope this helps.

Expert Comment

ID: 11957497
Ohh, also, before deleteing the folder, run CHKDSK C: /F in either the other windows 2k host system or the bartPE CD

Author Comment

ID: 11957529
OK, I got this figured out.

I got this enlightenment using Killbox, so I'll award PeteLong the points.

The files in here are all 13 characters long. They are numbered in order as aaaaaaaaaaaaa, aaaaaaaaaaaab, aaaaaaaaaaaac...ect. with numbers coming after letters, aaaaaaaaaaaaz, aaaaaaaaaaaa0, aaaaaaaaaaaa1...etc

The highest numbered file I was able to see was named "D08xxxxxxxxxx" or somewhere around there.

I don't care to convert a 36 base numbering system to decimal, but there has to be millions of files in this folder.

I suppose it was hanging trying to display or delete all these in one fell swoop.

I set up a batch file that divides this up and deletes them in smaller groups based on the convenient numbering system.

I'm sure this will run for days, but in the end I think it should take of the problem.

Thanks for the help.

LVL 57

Expert Comment

by:Pete Long
ID: 11957715

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