Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Invalid File Handle - Movie Downloads Beware!

Invalid File Handle - Movie Downloads Beware!

By Strictly-Software

Recently I downloaded a film, Con Man (2018), however when I try to do anything with the file such as open, run, copy, move or delete it I get a Windows "Invalid File Handle" error message.

I did some research and found that on certain file systems such as NTFS, CDFS, exFAT, UDFS, FAT, and FAT32, there are some reserved file names that you should never use which causes this error. One of these is con. Others include: PRN, AUX, NUL, COM1, COM2, COM3, COM4, COM5, COM6, COM7, COM8, COM9, LPT1, LPT2, LPT3, LPT4, LPT5, LPT6, LPT7, LPT8, and LPT9.

I checked the filename of the movie and the person had only named it Con.Man.2018.1080p.mp4, meaning that Windows saw the filename as Con preventing me doing anything with this file.

At the moment it is permanently stuck on my file system as I cannot remove the files containing folder either.

I did have a copy of this file on a USB stick however which I could remove, obviously due to the different format of the USB disk drive. If I had used uTorrent to download the file directly to the USB drive instead of first to a folder on my Windows drive I wouldn't have had this issue.

I am basically looking for ways to remove this file as I cannot rename it to something else, either from Windows or the Command Prompt, to enable deletion.

I saw someone suggest renaming the file to \\.\Con.xxx but this does not work as I cannot get a file handle to rename it in the first place.

Therefore this is more of a warning write up than a "How To Guide", although you can be sure I will update this when I find a solution.

So if you are downloading files such as movies to your computer be careful and check the filename first and if you are using a tool such as a Torrent downloader ensure the downloaded file name is changed to something an NTFS or FAT type disk can handle, or download it straight to a USB drive with a different disk format which will allow file deletion.

For more information you can read this MSDN article, called "Naming Files, Paths, and Namespaces".

It states: Do not use the following reserved names for the name of a file: CON, PRN, AUX, NUL, COM1, COM2, COM3, COM4, COM5, COM6, COM7, COM8, COM9, LPT1, LPT2, LPT3, LPT4, LPT5, LPT6, LPT7, LPT8, and LPT9. Also avoid these names followed immediately by an extension; for example, NUL.txt is not recommended.

I will update this when I get a solution.

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