Delete a file that isn't there (Mac file problem)
March 26, 2012 1:46 PM   Subscribe

I have an existential OSX file problem - trying to delete a file that can't be found... After moving a slew of .mv4 files of moves that I've shifted from MBA hard drive to external drive I noted that my laptop memory did not reflect deletion.

I searched for "All my Files" and saw that the alias files for all moves were still there taking up the same space on the hard drive. They are unable to be deleted.

Error reads = "The alias /filename/ can't be opened because the original item can't be found." with options to delete, fix or click ok.
-Delete does nothing.
-Fix bring up other box that says "unexpected error occurs (error code -43)" after trying to find file that has sense been moved.
-and Ok doesn't make it ok... ;)

My google-fu has failed me for the first time and I am out of options. Some links I have read are Here, and Here that haven't been too helpful.

Any help would be much appreciated. I am using MBA 1.6 GHz Core i5, OSX vers 10.7.3, with 128 SSD HD (hence the space is needed)
posted by aggienfo to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I use Onyx to do system maintenance on my mac. I believe it has an option for force deleting files.
posted by bessel functions seem unnecessarily complicated at 2:18 PM on March 26, 2012

did you "empty trash"?
posted by goutytophus at 2:28 PM on March 26, 2012

The alias still points to the original on the MBA drive, but that doesn't explain why you cannot delete it. Apple Support explains there are three things associated with this kind of error is a permissions issue, illegal characters, or a non-existent share point. To address the first possibility Get Info about the alias and check the permissions. You should have read and write access. For the 2nd remove any illegal characters in the name such as characters;: ", | * [] / \ = + <>. The . can only be used to separate the file name from the file type.
posted by Gungho at 3:04 PM on March 26, 2012

Open Disk Utility, choose to "Repair Permissions" on the hard drive, and try again.
posted by mhoye at 4:14 PM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Are you searching for the file using Spotlight? I've always found Spotlight to be woefully inadequate and a general PITA. Try using a better search tool like EasyFind (freeware) or Find Any File ($6.00). You can select/reveal in Finder/ and delete from within both programs. They're both excellent, handy apps.

(FYI, Apple's Support Page for the info Gungho's given above is here.)
posted by LuckySeven~ at 4:43 PM on March 26, 2012

Aliases are just tiny pointers, they don't use up the same space as the original files. OS X 10.7 has a new feature where it keeps some Time Machine backups locally, which could be where the space is going, but I doubt this is the source of the problem.

Some possible solutions to your problem:

1. Use a program like DaisyDisk or DiskInventoryX to check where all your hard drive space is going. If your actual movies are still around somewhere, not just the aliases, this will find them.

2. Your problem could be caused by very minor disk corruption. Boot from the recovery drive by rebooting and holding Cmd-R, and then use Disk Utility to repair your startup disk.

3. As suggested, Spotlight (which powers the "All Files" view) could be a bit messed up. You could try resetting the Spotlight index.
posted by vasi at 6:57 PM on March 26, 2012

Response by poster: Mhoye - I owe you a beer, running the "repair permissions" took care of it all. Thanks! Took a whole of 5 min (with 3 min figuring how to find the button)
posted by aggienfo at 12:34 AM on March 27, 2012

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