How I Got Rid of the File From Hell
by Melvin Ah Ching, September 10, 1999.
A few days ago my Powercenter 150 Macintosh clone experienced a nasty freeze. I was using Netscape Navigator at the time the computer froze.
I was forced to restart the Mac in the usual way using the command+control+power-on keyboard method. The computer restarted but couldn't find the hard disc. Bad news for sure.
I restarted the computer using an external drive upon which I have some emergency utility programs for just this instance... I ran Norton. It did a number of fixes and several minutes later the hard disc was okay.
I rebooted the PowerCenter off the main drive and everything came up hunky dory fine.
I decided that this would be a good time to do some of the routine pruning of my hard drive.. i.e. getting rid of non-essential files just to make room for more non-essential files. In the course of doing that I went through several different folders and cleaned them out. Among the usual stops are the Netscape and Explorer disc cache folders, where I routinely empty out those cache files.
I discovered the file from hell when I attempted to toss all of the files out of the Netscape cache. Everything except one jpg file was successfully deleted using the ol' "Empty Trash" option from the special menu in the finder.
The file in question presented me with this dialog box after the rest of the files were trashed:
"The file xxxxxx.jpg could not be deleted because it is in use."
Hmmm... OK.. I checked the finder icon to see what other program I was running.. the only thing running was the finder and stickies... I closed stickies... tried to delete the file... same thing... "could not be deleted...."
Now what could be using this JPG file I wondered? The finder?
I tried to do the old hold the option key down while I emptied trash technique. Nothing happened. File still there.
I removed the file from the trash can, put it in a new folder. I created a text document with the same file name to replace the file in the folder. No success. The offending file could not be replaced because it was in use. Hmmmmm.
What next? I could run Norton again...nah... I decided to just forget the problem for awhile and proceeded with my work. The offending file was not messing anything else up. I would deal with it later.
Last night I booted the computer up with the Be OS.
Hmmm... I wonder... what if I try to delete the file using this operating system. The Be OS does not have a finder per se, and instead uses something called The Tracker. Fortunately the version of Be OS (and all subsequent versions I believe) I have can read and write to Mac volumes as well as Be ones.
So I went to the DISKS icon on the Be OS desktop, brought up the main Macintosh hard drive and went to the folder I tossed the file from hell in. I proceeded to drag the file from hell to the Be trash can.
I hit the empty trash option in Be...
Oh la la! The file from hell was DELETED!
Wow.. I thought this was neat. The real test would come when I booted up the Mac OS again. Would this file only be gone when using Be? Would it manifest itself if I booted up Mac OS 8?
The Mac OS came up as usual and I immediately proceeded to the folder where I last left the file.
Opened it up...
It was gone!
Happy man was I. The file from hell is history. Chalk up another victory for the ability to have an alternate OS running on your Macintosh computer. This option only exists for some Power Mac owners with computers running on versions of the PPC 603 or 604 chips. People with newer Macs (G3 or higher) and older 601 based PPC's and 680X0 Macs do not have this option, as the Be OS does not run on any of these computers.
Still for those of you who are lucky enough to have an older Power Mac that is Be OS capable, this is a good option to keep in mind the next time you want to get rid of your own Macintosh "file from hell."
Copyright 1998-99 by Melvin Ah Ching Productions.