Fixing or Deleting Invalid Files in Windows

20 Nov 2004

In an attempt to get the machine clean in hopes of fixing the Half-Life 2 stuttering problem, I've been doing a bunch of disk maintenance this evening.

Every since installing a second hard drive on this machine and moving around files from an old drive to the second hard drive on this new machine, I somehow ended-up with a bunch of wacky files on it (long story.. basically I had to use a utility to grab files off an old drive that was formatted as a dynamic disk because XP couldn't read it), and I could not find a way to remove them. I tried changing their attributes, deleting them in DOS, using file wiping utilities, doing 8 billion CHKDSK's, etc. When I'd try to delete them, I'd get a "cannot find specified file" sort of error; it was bizarre.

Step in DelinvFile. I ran it, and got rid of those annoying files and directories in seconds! A very good (and free!) little utility.

Basically what the problem amounts to is that said files went past the windows limit of path length (256 characters). Windows will not let you create a path that long, however it will let you move a folder into a path which exceeds that length. Once you've done that, the path is basically unaccessible and Windows will return the aforementioned error when you try to access it. Your best bet is to move the file/directory back down to a path which is under 256 characters, or use the above utility to delete it.