How to Remove ‘Illegal Name’ Folders/Files on Mac OS X Disk Volume (When Disk Utility Fails…)

This happened to me after I removed (uninstalled) Adobe Creative Suite 2. This problem has already been reported by Adobe TechNote Website under the titled ‘File system, I/O, Illegal Name errors, or system crash after you install (Photoshop CS2, Illustrator CS2, Adobe Creative Suite 2)‘.

The solution it suggests is to use the Disk Utility to repair the disk, which I have already attempted with NO luck. The error produced by the Disk Utility is as follows:

Disk Utility reports: First Aid failed.
Disk Utility stopped verifying “The name of your disk volume” because the following error was encountered:
The underlying task reported failure on exit.

and the illegal name being the ONLY error listed.

Then I found another way of removing these nasty illegally-named folders and files by the following steps:

1. Reboot the OS X and during the start-up, press and hold both 'Command' and 's' keys, this will boot your Mac into the 'single-user mode '.
2. Then you will be presented with a terminal-like environment, then type 'fsck -f'.
note: (fsck: filesystem consistency check and interactive repair)
3. When fsck finishes, type 'reboot' to restart your Mac.

4 Comments so far

  1. veruska on January 2nd, 2009

    Hi there, I have illegal name problems too. I need to know a couple of things, my operating system is tiger but I don’t have the operating system CD with me, I have only the leopard DC, can I use it or it won’t work? Do I need to save all my documents and files before restore anything? I never had this problem before and I have no idea how to deal with it…
    Thanks for your help

  2. Andy on January 11th, 2009

    Hi Veruska,

    You don’t need the installation CD/DVD in order to perform the above-mentioned repairing process. The ‘fsck’ command is already built-in with your OS X (both Tiger and Leopard version). Just make sure that you boot into your Mac via the ‘single-user mode’ (by pressing and hold both ‘Command’ and ‘s’ keys during the start-up.

    Hope this helps… 😉

  3. josh on March 4th, 2009

    Had this error on my personal macbook pro. I ended up just buying a new hard drive. Same error on my work computer and I found this post. Fixed it in 5 min.


  4. Andy on March 11th, 2009

    Hi Josh, I’m pleased you find this post useful and glad you managed to fix the problem.

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