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Cannot delete phantom files which just appeared on desktop - no extensions

81493 Views 82 Replies Latest reply: Mar 26, 2014 7:40 PM by quits RSS
  • bastion Calculating status...

    In my case, I removed the .DS_Store file that is in the same directory and then rebooted. That removed the files but didn't prevent them from coming back the next time I used Excel 2011.

    Blindly deleting .DS_Store files is a road to heartbreak. The stuff Apple stores in there is not all trivially recoverable and changes from release to release. Under some circumstances it even contains meaningful user data.

  • grfromsf Calculating status...

    In my case, I tried to delete the .tmp and 2 other files (series of numbers) using the Terminal application ("ls -la"), but it wouldn't recognize/find them. My files were on the desktop, but Terminal didn't detect them.


    So I updated my Microsoft 2011 (go to Word, on menu bar go to Help, look for Updates and select). It downloaded quickly. Afterwards, the files were still there. After an hour, it dawned on me to restart the computer. That was it! They were gone. I reopened another Word and Excel file, saved them and no phantom file appeared on my desktop.


    If the problem is the same, I hope this works for you too.

  • DW007 Calculating status...

    I had the same is the short term and long term fix i used.


    Short Term

    • When in finder press command + option + esc . This will launch the Force Quit Applications box.  In this box select 'finder' then press the button 'relaunch'.  This will get rid of the temporary excel documents for the moment.


    Long Term

    • This worked for me but not sure if its for everyone.  Go into 'disk utility' in your utilities folder.  Select your hard drive on the left hand side. Then on the right hand side at the bottom you should see a button called 'repair disk permissions'.  Select that and it should run for a minute or two to fix permissions.


    After doing repair disk permissions i no longer had a problem with temp files wiht excel.  Thanks to the above posts for helping me out to fix this!

  • amburrows9 Calculating status...

    Same exact problem. But my utilities folder is gone! so i cant use terminal! My computers animations are running jagged and my computer is so slow and behaves odd. Helppp

  • lturner519 Calculating status...

    I'm having a very similar problem. Everything is the same, but instead of Excel files it is two folders that have shown up on my desktop labeled: '' and ''. Which worries me more since I can't identify where they came from (and I can't open them). I'm really hoping that they came from Excel even though they aren't specifically Excel files because I did use Excel for the first time after upgrading to Lion yesterday. Does anyone have any ideas?

  • mberardinelli Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

    Sounds like your hard drive may be having a problem.


    First thing, you should back up all your data immediately in case the drive fails.


    Then, try booting up to your installation disc (put the disc in, restart the machine and hold down the "C" key while it boots up). Once it has booted, go to the Utilities menu, choose Disk Utility, and run a Repair Disk on the hard drive.


    I would also try running a Permission Repair while you're in there. Let me know if that helps.

  • mberardinelli Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

    Have you tried running a Permission Repair from Disk Utility and rebooting yet? What other steps have you taken so far?

  • ichaddy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Simply going to terminal and entering


    killall Finder


    does the job. The finder restarts instantly without them.


    If it happens again, goto the terminal and press the "up" arrow key. This cycles through recent commands and saves you typing the command again.



  • juliefromlynchburg Calculating status...

    Same Excel files on MacBook Pro desktop (numbered, can't be deleted). I simply restarted my computer and they were gone.

  • oldscribe Level 1 Level 1 (50 points)


    Just for clarification .xlsx files are indeed MS Excel open XML spreadsheet files, and there are a plethora of programs such as OpenOffice that will open these files.

  • careyowns13 Calculating status...

    Just Force Quit Finder.

    Worked Perfectly

  • JJW-Evanston Calculating status...

    I have been a long time Excel user.  I have been using Excel 2011 for a year or so.  I recently upgraded to Lion.  As soon as I started using Lion, I get the same numbered Excel files on my desktop.  They go away if I reboot.  However, they reappear every time I use Excel.  I have not been able to identify a way to keep them from coming back.

  • StephenAcworth Calculating status...

    This is an issue in the latest update to OfM2011; Word dumps similar phantom files on the desktop. When I installed Lion and ran the original version of OfM2011, there were no issues. Then I installed a prompted upgrade from MS and had this problem. I contacted OfM2011 work team through their Facebook page and they acknowledge it as an issue but they did not offer any workaround. The files ONLY disappear when you reboot the machine. I have tried a variety of other work arounds, but to no avail. I keep posting the issue on MS's FB page to try to prompt other users to complain to MS; whilst one or two people have commented, it doesn't seem to happen to everybody. Not aware of it happening in Powerpoint. Excel is by far the worst offender. I am using a Mid-2009 MBP 17" if that helps ID the issue. But, I am pretty certain it is a MS issue, not a Mac one and the next updae from MS is scheduled in 2012: ho hum, thanks MS!

  • hhbbmm44 Calculating status...

    I think this is an issue with installing LION.  I just installed it last week and have this same issue with excel phantom files that you can't do anything with other than rebooting each and every time you use Excel. Did NOT have this issue prior to installing LION.  It's an issue and I think Apple needs to send a fix for it. 

  • bastion Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    hhbbmm44 wrote:


    I think this is an issue with installing LION.  I just installed it last week and have this same issue with excel phantom files that you can't do anything with other than rebooting each and every time you use Excel. Did NOT have this issue prior to installing LION.  It's an issue and I think Apple needs to send a fix for it. 

    Disagree. If it was a Lion problem, the initial post wouldn't have preceded Lion by several months. If it was an Apple problem it'd be much more widespread - both in number of users and affected programs.

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