Ghost file preventing deletion of folders

8000 pts.
Tags:
Microsoft Windows Server 2003
User profiles
Windows Server User Profiles
I moved user profiles to a new location on a Windows 2003 server, then attempted to delete all the old folders after the move. Now a single "ghost" file seems to be preventing the deletion of folders 4 layers down. The folders are showing up as zero size so this is not a huge problem...but annoying in my attempts to clean up the file structure. I have tried to go through DOS commands to delete it, as well as Explorer Windows - but no joy. Any thoughts/tips/tricks welcome.

Software/Hardware used:
Windows Server 2003

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Go to Computer Management. You can get there from the control panel, administrative tools, or right-click on My Computer and go to manage.

From there, expand Shared Folders and select the Open Files entry. This will show you all currently opened, shared files on your system. If the one that is preventing deletion is listed, it will tell you what user has it open. You can either have them get out of the document, or right-click on it here in the list and select Close Open File.

Hope that does it!
–Koohiisan
——————–
Make sure you go into Folder Options and check ‘Show hidden files, folders, and drives’ and uncheck “Hide extensions for known file types” and “Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)” I say the extension types just so you will know what you are deleting. If that doesn’t work use a third party app like Killbox and Nuke the thing :) Goodluck.

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  • AndreaF
    I cannot use any third-party applications without sending them on to Corporate, to be tested against our system. I already used the steps you mention, and although I can see the actual file that it appears to be seeking, everything is a zero file size......... I keep thinking there should be a DOS command that would get rid of this - but maybe just wishful thinking.
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  • Labnuke99
    Open a command prompt and issue: "attrib -h -r -s filename.ext" to remove any special attributes on the file(s). Then you should be able to delete it. If that does not work, the file may be locked somehow. If that is the case, then shutdown the system and start in safe mode and delete it then.
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  • carlosdl
    I agree with Labnuke99, you should be able to delete the file and folders in safe mode.
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  • TomLiotta
    ...a single "ghost" file seems to be preventing the deletion of folders 4 layers down. What is a "ghost" file in this case? A file from Norton Ghost? A file protected by FileGhost? Something else...? The proper approach might depend on exactly what the obstacle is. Tom
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  • carlosdl
    Tom, I guess Andrea is calling it "ghost" because it is not visible and doesn't seem to exist.
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  • TomLiotta
    That seemed to be the likely explanation, which got me thinking about products like FileGhost. But it shouldn't hurt to be certain. Tom
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  • AndreaF
    Third party Apps are not approved on our systems unless they have been tested by Corporate HQ, due to the possibility of creating issues with our VERY picky industry software. One of the first things I tried was Folder Options, but I cannot seem to clear the ghost file - may just have to live with it :-(
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  • AndreaF
    Thanks for all the suggestions - my Watchlist was not showing me all the replies until I added a repeat of my own reply :-0 I tried your command prompt Labnuke....but unfortunately it did not like my statement. Not sure if it is because I had no file extension to add in.... I refer to this as a "ghost file" because I can see it listed, although there is zero size. Booting into Safe Mode is not an option until I can schedule in some down time, as this is our main server, in use almost 24/7.......but I will try that next time I am able.
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  • TomLiotta
    You say you can't delete a file. Can you tell us how you try to delete? If you try DEL from a command line, what happens? Is there a message? Tom
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  • Labnuke99
    @andreaf - do not include the quote marks when issuing the command. Also, the file extension may be hidden as previously mentioned. The command also has to be issued in the same folder where the "ghost" file is located. You can also try renaming the file to something else like "delete.me" and then trying to delete the file.
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  • AndreaF
    I will try this in safe mode the next time I can take the system down - nothing seems to work otherwise. I have tried simple deletion - through GUI and command lines. The message is always along the lines of "could not find filename", although I also got "Parameter format not correct" when I tried Labnuke99's command. Thank you for all the feedback!
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  • TomLiotta
    The message is always along the lines of “could not find filename”... If you run DIR from a command line and send results to a text file, does the resulting text name look exactly like what you see through other interfaces? The actual name might have characters (perhaps even blanks) that aren't otherwise obvious. Tom
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