Same thing has happened to me, a file that is named by numbers appeared on my desktop and it cannot be deleted. It is an xlsx file - Open Office sort excel, as the file in this message seems to refer as well. I don't think I have downloaded it and I have no idea of what it is, I just want to delete it!
As for oldscribe's question 3, I don't understand what a terminal command is - my bad! I know when I try to drag the file to the trash it says it "cannot be deleted". I have found a few threads with this problem, but no answer as yet. Hope someone can help!
Sounds like these files may have permissions that are preventing you from deleting them.
You can try using Terminal to delete them as follows:
1. Open Terminal
2. Type "sudo rm -f " (without the quotes and with a space after the f) and then click and drag the file into the terminal window (that will automatically "type" the path of the file for you).
3. Hit enter. It will prompt you for your password. Type it in and hit enter again.
If that does not work, right-click on the file and choose Get Info. At the bottom of the Get Info window you will see a section called "Sharing and Permissions." If you expand that section (click the little black triangle), can you tell me what the permissions say?
I have four files on my desktop. They are increasing in number.
They appear as .xlsx files.
I can't click on them.
I can't "Get Info".
I can't move the to the trash.
I can't move the icons at all.
I can't rename them.
They have names like: 993F0000 or 2E85A700 or A2E2A000.
I tried sudo terminal deletion but when I drag and drop, no link appears in the terminal.
They don't show up in the Finder ... just on the desktop.
I have Norton. Nothing shows up on a scan.
Sounds like maybe they are the hidden temporary files that Excel (or any office program for that matter) creates while you are working on a document (and sometimes leaves them behind).
In other words, your Desktop folder might have the "hidden" flag removed somehow and you are seeing these "phantom" files which normally are behind the scenes.
You can try this to see if those files are in fact supposed to be hidden:
1. Open Terminal
2. Type "cd Desktop" (without the quotes) and hit Enter
3. Type "ls -la" (without the quotes) and hit Enter
This will show you a list of all the files on your desktop. Look closely at the file names. All the "hidden" files will have a dot (.) in front of them. Do these weird files show a dot in front of the name (for example: .DS_Store is a file you will see in there).
If so, you can try the following command to reset the "hidden" flag on those files:
sudo chflags hidden <filename> (without the < >)
If this is not the case, you can try a couple of other things:
Try going into System Preferences > Accounts and creating a new user profile. Log into that profile and try opening Excel and making a "dummy" document. Do the same weird files appear on the desktop?
Have you tried running a Permission Repair and Disk Verify from Disk Utility? If not, do so. There is also another type of permission repair you could run (which might be more effective since it repairs Home folder permissions):
1. Insert your Mac OS X Installation disc
2. Reboot your machine and hold down the "C" key to boot to the disc
3. Once the install disc loads up, choose English. Go up to the Utilities menu and choose "Reset Password"
4. Highlight your username and click "Reset Home directory permissions and ACLs" (you don't need to actually reset your password).
Let me know if any of this helps!
I tried to go in through the terminal to delete these files but they are not there. All I have instead are filles named, ". and .." which cannot be changed through the terminal.
Next I tried verifying disk permissions and I repaired permissions but the files are still on my desktop.
Then I created a dummy account and the files did not appear.
I will try the Mac OS X Installation disc and let you know how it does.
Thanks and will keep you posted,
Permissions get funky after multiple installs/uninstalls, moving files, and so on. The permission repair that you find within Disk Utility repairs the permissions on system files.
Incorrect permissions can cause all kinds of issues, and most likely the kind that caused this were some type of permissions that controlled the "hidden" attribute flag on those "phantom files."
Just read this thread - I have been having this exact problem for several weeks, since installing Lion. The phantom files look like Excel files and appear spontaneously on my desktop (see attached image). When I shut down and restart my computer, the file or files are always gone. But similar files invariably continue to appear as I work on and re-save Excel files. The filescannot be copied or moved. Also, if I click and drag several files on my desktop at the same time in order to move them to a folder, and happen to drag over this file when selecting the files to move, the result is that all of the "real" files are copied into the folder rather than moved. The originals remain on the desktop and copies appear in the folder. The phantom file itself is not copied. I have tried the following:
1. Reinstalled Lion
2. Repaired disk permissions based on this thread
3. Checked for hidden files using Terminal based on this thread
The file is still on my desktop. Any other input would be appreciated!
I believe this is a problem with Excel 2011. I have the same problem. It appears that in some cases the temporary files Excel creates don't get properly deleted. They are not "hidden" files and they don't show up using "ls -la" in the terminal.
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.