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~$NAMEOFFILE.xlsx shows up in ArcCatalog. Not able to delete!

Posted on 2013-06-28
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Last Modified: 2013-09-08
ArcCatalog shows that I have a ~$NAMEOFFILE.xlsx in D:\

I receive the error "Failed to connect to database. General function failure External table is not in the expected format." when I try to delete it. The problem is there is no NAMEOFFILE.xlsx that shows in Windows Explorer or the command prompt (hidden files are shown). I am able to copy the file for some reason, but I'm just trying to figure out how to get rid of the file once and for all.

This problem has persisted from 10.0 to 10.1
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Question by:VAMS1
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Arc always has had random database issues which is commonplace in many applications when it comes to read/write access. Excel in particular does not like a 2nd application accessing its files. Ironically you can run a website of the same geodatabase with no issues.

There are also known issues with the Data Interoperability extension, which may require you to add an database interoperability update as there are 3 versions of excel that use xlsx.  Try turning off Data Interoperability in your extensions and updating database drivers. To deal with xlsx issues you may try to use an older format, eg excel 2003 xls, or as a complete alternative you can use a model to generate a shapefile and use the DBF table from it to read data.

Issues may be folder security or permission related which often require you to exit arc, try and delete the file externally assuming it has not been stored in the GDB (Personal, File or SDE Local).  If the file is located outside of the GDB in a folder then you may install and use an application like "LockHunter" to find which application is preventing the file from deletion or overwrite. Lockhunter gives you a truly safe, free and permanent context menu solution to release or delete files from application control.  This app is solid and works 99% of the time and works fine for most applications.  In worst case, reboot the machine and use lockhunter to delete the file before you start arc..

Other things you may try include changing folder and/or creating a new and/or different  type of GDB and doing an import multiple, and starting again. Also check to see if you have updated your schema, and maybe access it from its native application to search for remnants of the xlsx files references.

The registry is a prime target for storing redundant information and invisible, progressive corruption that slowly grinds your machine to a halt, well before your hardware has expired. Arc itself is a heavily registry dependent and it does not respond well to registry cleaners which can play havoc with an install, which may cause you hours and days of grief. If possible you should exclude ESRI application modification from registry cleaners (any) if that is possible.  That is why it is important to keep data separate from the application hard drive, so you can reinstall your OS and Apps and service packs with a "clean" speedy registry without loss of any functionality. A complete system makeover using a system image, using something like Acronis, may take 30 minutes once every 6-12 months instead of 30+ hours, to do a pc reinstall with os, ms and esri apps and updates.

There are plenty of quick options here that do not require any drastic, risky or painfully slow measures.

Hope this helps...
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