I am facing this issue on Catalina where ~$ files are created when transferring/copying files from MacOS to thumb drive. The ~$ files are sometimes created and appearing from different folders. The ~$ files created are all corrupted and unable to open. As observed, most of these original files are .docx.

Hoping someone out there could advise on this or point out where is the issue as it is causing confusion and I am afraid that it would corrupt the original files.

Thanks all!

Edit 20200330 (adding in example)

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Files created in Sub-folder A2 (in local machine/drive), when copied to thumb drive (with the entire folder hierarchy/ all folders listed, copied to thumb drive), the ~ file is created in sub-folder B4.1 in the thumb drive, with the Word software being unopened. It is not limited to only one file, but many ~ files created in different folders and not in the parent folder.

  • Your edit changes the nature of the question. You’re saying that the copying program puts files in the wrong places? What program do you use to copy with? How do you use it?
    – jksoegaard
    Apr 1, 2020 at 3:42
  • I am pretty sure it does not change the nature of the question. Basically files created on the iMac using Microsoft Word, when copied over to the thumdrive, it creates the ~ files on the thumb drive, however the ~ files created are not in the in the folder where the actual files are, they could appear in other subfolders in the thumdrive.
    – Winona
    Apr 7, 2020 at 15:46

1 Answer 1


These files are automatically created by Word (and other programs in the Microsoft Office suite). They are supposed to be automatically deleted when you close the document in Word or Excel, but sometimes that mechanism fail.

These files are not "corrupted" - they're simply not supposed to be able to be opened with Word/Excel. They do not contain the contents of your documents.

The existence of those files do not corrupt your original files. You can simply ignore them.

  • Thank you for that! However, is there anyway i could fix or avoid this? Re-saving the contents in another file? It is tedious to have to keep deleting them manually.
    – Winona
    Mar 20, 2020 at 2:06
  • There no need to delete them. As this is how Office behaves, it is not easy to fix besides waiting for Microsoft to fix it (which they probably won’t).
    – jksoegaard
    Mar 20, 2020 at 7:14
  • I see. This is quite disturbing though. Cause if I saved the file in folder A, and i copy it to the thumb drive, the file can appear in folder B.
    – Winona
    Mar 20, 2020 at 15:44
  • I’m not sure what you mean. Can you detail why you think this is a problem? The only thing I can see is that is a bit confusing that there are these extra temporary files - but they do not hurt anything and they take up virtually no space.
    – jksoegaard
    Mar 20, 2020 at 18:00
  • These auto-created files are appearing randomly in different folders - they are not appearing in folders where it is originally saved. I can see how it is a problem to someone who isn't tech/office savvy, as it confuses them.
    – Winona
    Mar 25, 2020 at 14:00

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