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We work in a mixed Mac / PC environment. Desktop operators work on Mac only, whereas our backend services are Windows based. Also some manual operations are done on Windows 7.

We call our problem "Ghost Folders". These are folders, that are inaccessible even for Windows Administrator account. Windows displays no privileges for anyone! Even admin user cannot see folder permissions or owner - nor can ownership be taken by Administrator. Total lockdown.

Such folders are created under following circumstances:

  • A windows share is mounted on Mac by SMB://<IP-address> notation.
  • Mac or Windows user attempts to move or delete a folder with some files inside.
  • Mac Finder gives error "No access" or "Insufficient privileges", as does Windows.
  • Windows Server shows the folder as with no permission for anyone.

This folder will disappear by itself some time later (!!) Time span can be anything from a few minutes to several hours.

On Mac, the UNIX 'ls -la' command shows the folder permissions as normal. However 'ls -la' for the folder contents lists nothing. Not even the "." or ".." for 'current' and 'upper-level' folders.

This scenario can be repeated at will - Deletion can be attempted either on Mac or Windows.

Similar behavior is also seen when attempting to save (overwrite) a file from a Mac application. This will give permissions error - and the original file disappears from the server. This suggests a successful deletion of the original file, but failed write of the new content.

This scenario will only take place if at least one Mac has the share mounted and any folder of the share is open in Finder. A share that is not accessed by any Mac does not produce this problem.

We have sketchy evidence that the initial deletion attempt (when unsuccesful) will actually (or partially) delete the folder from the Windows file system. We have seen deletion apparently to succeed on Windows Explorer. However, the Mac SMB connection seems to somehow "deny" the deletion after the fact, bringing the folder back visible in Windows file system, but with null permissions.

As soon as the share is dismounted from all Macs, the locked files/folders are released immediately. Some sub-folder and/or files will then get deleted immediately, some are left there. They can be deleted at will.

Verified with Mac OS X 10.6.5 - 10.8.2

Also tested for "Named Streams" problem (see Creating a file "" at the root of the share does not clear the problem.

This is very similar to an old post at Mac OSX 10.6 leaves open files on Windows Server

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