Unable to delete files/directories - bogus user/group ID's

Jerry McAllister jerrymc at msu.edu
Mon Apr 23 14:38:25 UTC 2007

On Sun, Apr 22, 2007 at 11:56:31PM -0700, Don O'Neil wrote:

> I had a crash on a disk array last week that was severe enough that fsck
> wouldn't fix it, even in single user mode. So, I was forced to suck off the
> good data, and restore the bad stuff from backups.
> However there are 2 directories that contain files/directories which have
> bogus user & group ID's that the system just won't let me do anything to. I
> can delete them, cant rename them, cant move them, cant chmod/chown, cant
> cat to them, nothing... I just get "Operation not permitted".
> Here's a sample of one of them: 
> ---xr----x  1 2761022747  1016642816  0 Apr 19 15:35 Video
> d--s---rw-  2 3251161791  726015594  512 Apr 19 15:41 .shrc
> Anyone have any ideas on how to get rid of these files?
> I've done an fsck from single user mode and that doesn't come up with
> anything. Short of copying all the data over to a new volume sans these
> files and then reformatting the old volume and then moving the good files
> back what can I do?

I am not sure why you couldn't read/copy them if you have tried that.
As for writing to them or changing permissions or ownership, it could
be that the files have some flags set on them.   Then, not even root
can modify them without removing the flag[s].   See  man chflags.

If that doesn't help, are you ready to just leave that data behind and
move on?   If so, you will probably want to rebuild the partitioning
on the array.   You might want to wipe out enough stuff to make sure
to avoid any possible conflicts (probably none, but...)  To do that
use dd and overwrite the first few hundres sectors or the logical device.
If you address the array as  ad1,  for example,  do:
  dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/ad1 bs=512 count=1024
Then fdisk it and bsdlabel it and newfs partitions you create with bsdlabel
and if it is all happy, then you have a cleaned out working 'drive' again.


> Any assistance would be appreciated. I'd also like to thank everyone who
> browses this group and regularly posts responses... Without you guys some of
> us would never get the help and knowledge we need! Thanks in advance!
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