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I noticed a mysterious hidden folder on my desktop containing one hidden file. The folder's name starts with .E05268AB3AE5F72AF... and the file name starts with DF2CEE62032EFA2196B0B673...

The folder was created on July 19th 2014 and its file on October 22nd 2014

My mac is a "MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2014)" and I got it sometime in October 2014. So, my guess is that the folder is put on the computer when it's manufactured and the file created on the first boot.

But that's just a wild guess and doesn't explain their utility.

Do you have those on your desktop?

Do you know why they're there?

Opening the file with text edit I get this:

/MG›ÿ“.¥%Pü;Pó¸û-øa]J´âË…≠RÑ€ïÆÀ\ˇ_ÔÅJ•W›Ã†õ‘m
õ'Õ∂Ø≠{a3oP)%<U
6?ó≥$há ÄdY
¯8º◊
9ü”‘–pJÈt∞“≤L »óPØ}˝)YÄeÅôà(zk‹&>O◊>∂:

and then a little bit more of that, probably binary not meant for humans.


As requested, the output of ls -al is the following

Feldev-MBP:.E05268AB3AE5F72AF1E451 feldev$ ls -al
total 8
drwxrwxrwx@  3 feldev  staff   96 19 Jul  2014 .
drwx------+ 19 feldev  staff  608  3 Sep 21:07 ..
-rw-rw-rw-@  1 feldev  staff  242 22 Oct  2014 DF2CEE62032EFA2196B0B67336814E

and the output of file .E05268AB3AE5F72AF.../DF2CEE62032EFA2196B0B673... is data

  • 1
    What is the output of file .E05268AB3AE5F72AF.../DF2CEE62032EFA2196B0B673...? The file command tries to guess the file type and could shed some light on the contents of that hidden folder. – jaume Aug 31 '18 at 7:36
1
+50

Do you have those on your desktop?

No and nor have I ever seen that exact file. I have, however, seen similar files with seemingly gibberish text.

Do you know why they're there?

It is impossible to tell why they are exactly there but my best guess would be the following: They are old temporary autosave file created by some unknown program. Many programs will create hidden autosave files when you unfocus the program or at certain intervals incase of a crash or force quit. This is extremely helpful for many different reasons. Many times this file is compressed to save space or written in some other format (this is why its ineligible).

The folder was created on July 19th 2014 and its file on October 22nd 2014

My guess is that the file was copied over from some kind of transfer form an older computer. Maybe from Time Machine or another backup software, although, again, it is impossible to know for sure.


You probably already know this but I will reiterate, files starting with a '.' are hidden. They can be unhidden with the following command(s):

  1. defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES

  2. killall Finder

Or the simpler method of

+ Shift + .

while in a Finder window


After re-reading I realized I never said what you should do with them! As the other answers have said, you can back them up and delete them. You should not see any problems.

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They are for deleting. They don’t ship with the os and aren’t worth worrying about since they are machine generated and you’d need to use the command line or a hex editor to examine the binary file for clues.

If you’re super worried, set up Time Machine to back them up, then delete them.

Your home folder wasn’t created until after you received your Mac and chose your short name, so it came from a program or transfer you made soon after this mac was customized for you.

1

I don't have those on any of my mac OS... (Tiger, Snow Leopard, Sierra, High Sierra).

Idea 1

If the file/folder(s) are older than your mac ownership, they could have been generated after the first installation of mac OS on the machine. I don't know anything about Apple's factory installation process, but I'm pretty sure that they randomly check some laptops with diagnostic tools (I can't imagine they are checking all of them). Those files could be an output of those tools.

Idea 2 (linked with idea 1)

By looking at the file and folder's partial names, they look like generated by a hash algorithm (why? they are only containing HEX characters (0-9, A-F).

These files are generated by a lot of programs for either: saving a state before quitting, backuping their configuration. Most of the time, they are temporary and they are many reasons why they can finally stay on your computer:

  • The app crashed whilst creating the file, it's then a malformed file according to the app, it can't recognize it anymore...
  • The app was removed from the laptop.
  • ...

Backup the file, delete it. I'm pretty sure it won't harm your computer. If it does, restore it...

Just for being curious: can you give the output of ls -al in this folder. Sometimes group:owner infos can help you to guess who created the file.

  • Thx Nibor, I've updated the question with the output of ls -al – FelDev Sep 4 '18 at 12:34

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