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Difficulty deleting a folder named F.E.A.R.

By cliffordcooley ยท 18 replies
May 17, 2014
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  1. I have the game called F.E.A.R (FEAR w/DLC's, FEAR2, and FEAR3) in my Steam Library. In the event I ever want to re-install Steam, I want a backup of the game files. FEAR2 and FEAR3 were successfully backed up. FEAR on the other hand has given me a headache. I've since successfully managed to get it done but not by using the default folder name "F.E.A.R." for backup. I eventually renamed the default and used "F.E.A.R. 1".

    First attempt was including the DLC links. That is the main game link and two additional DLC links pointing back to the main game files. The DLC's are basically embedded within the main game files. So the links were not important. Good thing too, because when I add the links to be in the backup, the backup appears to complete but never gives the finished status. That makes me question whether I should trust the backup. After three attempts to complete with failure, I decided to drop the DLC links and just backup the main game files.

    Second attempt is where my issue is at. After removing the DLC links, the default name for backup is "F.E.A.R.". Don't ask me why or how the name "F.E.A.R." cannot be read from, renamed, moved, or deleted. Now the parent folder can be edited and moved, but not deleted with the sub-folder "F.E.A.R.". While trying to backup the game, I've ended up with three of these folders I cannot modify or remove.

    Third attempt was successful, once I realized the DLC's links were causing a problem and the default backup name was not a good idea.

    I usually don't have to worry about user permissions with the third party file manager I use. I have also booted into Mini XP from Hiren's BootCD and faced the very same problem in a completely different OS.

    Now for the questions. Short of deleting the partition, do you guys have any ideas as to how I can remove this folder? And if you have any idea as to why this particular folder name is causing problems, I'd really like an explanation.

    After reading comments from "I can't delete a Steam game backup.", question number one is answered. Use a DOS command "RD /S F.E.A.R.".

    Question number two is still open. Why was this an issue to begin with?
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,432   +801

    Precisely HOW are you attempting the delete?
    There might be hidden files in the folder or even a hidden folder.

    Attempting DEL from a command prompt might work
    cd to the directory just above F.E.A.R
    then DEL /s /a:h F.E.A.R
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  3. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    You will know the dot character '.' in Windows names has special associations or meanings. As for instance, it separates a file name and a file type indicator, such as myfile.jpg

    I would expect a folder name to exclude the dot character entirely. However, testing with windows explorer, and also Free Commander it seems possible to create a folder called f.e.a.r. both as a subordinate to another folder and at the root of a drive, so that theory fails (in Win 7 pro anyway)

    Jobeard's theory is possible - that you actually had files or sub-directories which were marked 'hidden' and possibly 'system' as well. In normal circumstances, I would expect an attempt to delete such a folder would result in a message, which might not be very meaningful, but would tell us something. You don't report one.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2014
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,432   +801

    Under the GUI interface, one can not create .FOO

    but under the cmd line interface you can
    echo "JUNK" >.foo​

    the classic 8.3 name spec does not prohibit multiple periods in a name, eg a.b.c.d
    it only says the extension is 3 chars and is separated from the root name by '.'

    nor does it prohibit a dot in a folder name, mkdir a.b.c.d

    many assume the worst, but such is not the case :grin:
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  5. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Topic Starter Posts: 9,162   +3,260

    Delete key on the keyboard
    Right click context menu and selecting delete
    That I'm not sure about because I couldn't open the folder. I would get a message the folder doesn't exist. Which would give weight to your last comment about 8.3 name spec. Which means Steam must be programmed to use 8.3 name spec with short names. Because I'm not having the issue when creating the name by any other application.
    Sadly if it was an attribute issue, the folder would have deleted as soon as I said "yes delete anyway". The only time I ever have problems modifying folders or files is when they are open by other applications. I'm not trying to be a smarta__ but I learned how to ignore attributing back in the 90's.
    Yeah always the last dot. I would have expected the folder to be "F.E.A.R" with the last dot used as the file-name and extension separator.
    Interesting as mentioned above, this is probably where the issue spawns from. So as long as the name exceeds the 8.3 length, long file name specs are forced into play. And even if the name is short enough to use the 8.3 specs, if the long file name specs are used there will not be issues. I can only assume this is an example of naming that fell through the cracks and didn't get error trapping programmed to force long filename specs. Either that or Steam is ignoring the error trapping.
  6. Brennan

    Brennan TS Booster Posts: 103

    Maybe try http://lockhunter.com/.
    I used it once years ago.

    • Shows processes locking a file or folder
    • Gives you detailed information on the process
    • Allows to unlock, delete, copy or rename a locked file
    • Can delete a file at next OS restart
    • Allows to kill locking process
    • Allows to remove locking processes from hard drive
    • Can unload DLLs from processes
    • Integrates in to Explorer menu
    • It deletes files into the recycle bin, so you may restore them if deleted by mistake
    • Supports both 32 and 64 bit Windows
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  7. Brennan

    Brennan TS Booster Posts: 103

    cliffordcooley likes this.
  8. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Topic Starter Posts: 9,162   +3,260

    Thanks for posting Brennan. (y)
  9. ravisunny2

    ravisunny2 TS Ambassador Posts: 1,986   +12

    So, did it work?

    Using unlocker resulted in a real mess once.

    Here is how get rid of the stubborn ones:
    Bootup with a live Linux CD
    Find the target file/folder
    Delete for good.
  10. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Topic Starter Posts: 9,162   +3,260

    The command-line "RD", worked for me. All these years working in Windows, I always forget about trying command-line tools. But if the other Windows tools will work, they are worth mentioning.
  11. dansharp2014

    dansharp2014 TS Rookie

    You cannot store more than 15 levels of subdirectories in the FileTable directory. When you store 15 levels of subdirectories, then the lowest level cannot contain files, since these files would represent an additional level. I've had this problem and just moved files up the subfolder paths until I had less than 15. Keep in mind C:\ is a folder
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  12. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    Never heard of that - and I've been in computing since 1966. Do you have a reference ? Does it apply only to Windows ? I prefer an explanation not mentioned above, that there is a character-length limit on parsing of long file-names. Not saying you're wrong though - it's a big subject, and not many people are going to push the limits :)

    In addition, since NT 3.5 OS, there has been a 255-character filename length restriction http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_filename
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014
  13. dansharp2014

    dansharp2014 TS Rookie

    I had this trouble before. A friend downloaded a malicious file with 16+ sub directories..took me awhile to figure it out. This refers to sub "levels" not file length or sub directories in one level. It first came up when copying a disk in 1985 and it wouldn't copy reporting "too many levels".
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  14. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    That's impressive, thanks for that. It is talking about SQL server (a software product, not Windows in general), but I suppose the restrictions are more likely to be file system restrictions than software coding restrictions, and your reported experience clearly supports that.
  15. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Topic Starter Posts: 9,162   +3,260

    That is interesting and clearly worth mentioning. If I'm not mistaken I manage all my files within ten folder levels. I think I can recall reading about the folder level restrictions. But that was so long ago, if you had not mentioned it, I wouldn't have thought about it. To be honest the folder levels is one of the reasons why I never wanted Windows to manage my files. Too many levels all tied up with user names. That might be fine if you had to share a machine and had something to hide. I don't so I don't need the confusion.

    When I installed Steam, I knew Steam would have a large library of games and folder levels as well. So when installing, I let Steam sit in the root of D: (D:\Steam\). For this issue there were three folder levels(d:\Backup\Steam\), in which I have Steam placing game backups. And Steam only needs another two folder levels([game-title]\Disk_1\*.*) to store the backups.
  16. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,432   +801

    See this for the limiting factor:: the length of the path (including) the file name
    If you like, you could create \a\b\c\d\.... \z\myfile.txt just fine
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  17. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,432   +801

  18. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    Well, well, these waters are really muddy now !! Reading with some interest the various links discovered by our estimable friends, it is clear that the true answer to the question of 'how deep can a directory structure be ?' is very much 'it depends on too many things to predict' !!
    dansharp2014 likes this.
  19. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,432   +801

    Just for giggles, I created a PHP script(mkNestedDirs.php and tweaked the extension for uploading) which creates a nested directory of
    and places a FOO.LOG file in the z directory

    results look like this
    $ php.exe  mkNestedDirs.php
    ls -ld BB/a/b/c/d/e/f/g/h/I/j/k/l/m/n/o/p/q/r/s/t/u/v/w/x/y/z/FOO.LOG
    ----------+ 1 Jeff Power Users 0 Jul  7 14:13 BB/a/b/c/d/e/f/g/h/I/j/k/l/m/n/o/p/q/r/s/t/u/v/w/x/y/z/FOO.LOG
    yes, PHP uses Linux path names even when run on a Windows environment (aka Cygwin).
    Rest assured the file really resides at BB\a\b\c\d\e\f\g\h\I\j\k\l\m\n\o\p\q\r\s\t\u\v\w\x\y\z

    Filesystem is NTFS to make this work and the OS is Win/7/pro, but it also works clear back to XP

    Attached Files:

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