I have a folder (recently transferred to my SSD from a friend’s hard drive) that is greyed out and won’t open. I checked online and noticed the date on the folder is January 24, 1984. It says online to:

Step 1. Open Finder and find the grayed out folder or file that shows 24 January 1984 error.
Step 2. Go to Applications and open the Terminal app.
Step 3. Type SetFile -d 11/09/2016 /Path/to/grayed-out-folder/ and tap on return.

The title of the folder is “Haus VIDEO (Live Footage)”, (without the “”), so I tried to run this in Terminal:

SetFile -d 11/09/2016 SetFile -d 11/09/2020 /Volumes/RH SSD/Haus VIDEO (Live Footage)/

And I get this error:

-bash: syntax error near unexpected token `('

What does that mean/how can I fix it?

  • Please edit to include a link to the source for quoted content. I've edited to add quote formatting and code formatting.
    – grg
    Commented Jul 16, 2021 at 21:22

1 Answer 1


Because your path argument contains space characters, in order for Terminal to understand your intent, you must escape each space character by preceding it with a back-slash ("\") OR surround the entire path argument with double quotes. I think the parenthesis characters are "special" too, so escape those as well. Thus:

/Volumes/RH\ SSD/Haus\ VIDEO\ \\(Live\ Footage\\)/


"/Volumes/RH SSD/Haus VIDEO (Live Footage)/"

I'm a lazy typist, so I know which option I would try...

  • Is that right 'grg', double back-slash the parens? Why?
    – M Hejjas
    Commented Jul 16, 2021 at 21:33
  • Tab completion should work: type the start of the command up to "/Volumes/RH" and then hit the TAB key; it will probably insert "\ SSH" (assuming you only have one volume that starts "RH"). Keep typing, hitting TAB when you're not sure how to escape spaces, parentheses, other special characters. Commented Jul 16, 2021 at 23:57

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