Tutorial - Dir Locking - Breaking Dirs

Dir Locking - Breaking Dirs

Updated: 01-15-02
by jtp10181

  1. Introduction
  2. Necessary Tools
  3. Cloning
  4. Renaming
  5. Peeking
  6. Removing Directories
  7. When Problems Occur
  8. Closing Notes


I know this is a very controversial topic but I am writing this anyway.  There are lots people that have questions about breaking directories.  Hopefully the only people this are the people seeking to reclaim their data on a pub or clean up old tags.  Please do not use this information to steal pubs and/or delete other peoples pubs (unless it is really old stuff, check file dates).  There are currently three ways to break directories that I know of.  With the information on this page you should be able to get into almost any directory created, excluding some UNIX locked folder with in them.

If you are having problems with certain directories not working see the When Problems Occur section below.

Obviously I did not discover all this information myself, actually none of it.  Most of it came from the NKB (Net Knowledge Base).  The credit for most of this goes towards hawk, with the exception of the peeking method which goodslw and sung1st came up with.  I simply took all the information I found and compiled it into a easy to read tutorial.

Necessary Tools

  • FlashFXP - A great ftp client designed with the FXP Groups in mind.
  • BitBeamer - An alternative ftp client that can be used to handle FlashFXP glitches.


This is the most basic and easy method to break directories.  But it can only break simple locked directories such as "locked / /" and it will not work on directories mad with reserved words or otherwise illegal directory names.

All you need to do is right click and select "Make Folder" and input the name of the folder without the " / /" at the end.  After it refreshes the listing you can now double click the locked folder (check the timestamp for the older one) and enter it easily.  Easy isn't it?  Don't expect to find many directories that this works on.


This is most useful for cleaning out old tags and also can be used if you want to unlock/change your own path.  For this we will make a custom command in FlashFXP because it's a lot easier and takes less clicking to do the steps.  To setup custom commands go to the menu Commands -> Edit Command... (or just press F7).  While the "Custom Commands" folder is selected click the "Add Cmd" button at the bottom.  For the name put something like "Rename File/Dir" and inside the Command window put the following:

rnfr %d[Name of Dir/File]
rnto %d[New Name]

You can now press OK to close the dialog.  When this command is run FlashFXP will prompt for the current name and then the new name.

To use this to unlock a folder get in a directory with a locked folder.  To find the exact name of the folder we will use RAW Directory listing.  Click Directory -> View RAW Directory and it will bring up a text display of all the directories.  Find the directory you want to unlock and select from the point where all the directories are to end of that line and then copy this selection.  This will capture all the proceeding and trailing spaces in the folder name.  What appears to be "com1" could actually be:

 "      com1          " 

Now with that copied Click Commands and then the new custom command we made.  In the first dialog that pops up enter in the following: "./<Paste Dir Name>/ /"  If there are not spaces before the letters of the folder name the "./" at the beginning is not necessary.  On the next dialog you can put in whatever you want to rename the folder to, this can also be another locked folder (if you know the next folder in the path you can change your own locks this way).  Now if you select the remote FTP window and press F5 (Refresh) your new folder name should be visible.  If you unlocked a folder you can now enter it normally.


With this technique you can see inside locked folders with a special list command.  This technique is useful for retrieving your data if someone moves it and locks folders.  Do not use this information to steal other peoples work.  I find the easiest way to do this is by again making a custom command in FlashFXP.  This time name the command "Peek Locked Folder" and put the following as the command:

cwd %d[Enter Locked Folder]
list -alF ../*/

Here is an explanation (from hawk) of the switches used on the list command:

  • -a include files and directories that begin with a dot (.). These are normally hidden files.
  • -F label directories with a trailing slash (/), executables with a trailing asterisk (*), and links with a trailing at-sign (@)
  • -l gives a long listing which includes access permissions, owner, group, size in bytes, and time of last modification

I think the options I use give the most information, if you want to omit any feel free to do so.  Once you have the custom command setup how you want click ok and get a place with a locked folder.

We are again need the full directory name like in the previous section, so use the RAW Directories to copy the full pathname.  Select the new custom command and input the path as in the previous section as well.  The command will then switch to this directory and do the custom list command we have made and should show you all the folders inside of it.  If you think there might be spaces before the folder name you can use the RAW Directories to get the full name.  If the folder you want to access is not locked we can no enter it by typing the path into the path bar on the top.  Double clicking the folder will not work because of the way we tricked the server into listing the folders.  If you still have the first patch copied you can paste it into the path bar followed by just a "/" and then type in the folder you see in the listing (or copy paste from RAW Directories listing).  Press enter and it should enter the folder.

Removing Directories

Well once you have gotten the full path of a directory structure you can remove it just so long nothing is in use inside the folders.  This is a good practice if you find lots of old tags and junk on a Pub to clean it up.  It will make your tag more noticeable (because its the only one) and also if a Sysop happened to view his directories he is less likely to notice one extra folder instead of the usual 10 locked folders you find on many pubs.

Removing the directories is very simple once you can get inside the path.  The easiest thing to do is to rename all the locked folders you come across (or any folders FlashFXP has problems entering normally).  Then once they are all renamed go back to the first folder of the directory maze and delete the main dir.  FlashFXP will then ask you if your sure, say yes, then it will tell you that deleting this folder will delete all nested subfolders and files, say yes again. FlashFXP will now begin going through all the directories and deleting any files it finds, once it determines all the folders are empty it will remove all the folders.  The main folder should now be gone, if it ran into errors look at see what it had problems with.  Remember to look for invisible directories because if they are in a folder FlashFXP can't remove them unless you rename them first.

When Problems Occur

In some cases folders will not want to unlock/delete and FlashFXP will complain about some error or another.  First thing to do is check the RAW listing, most cases problems occur because of extra spaces you did not notice.  Also look for "invisible" folders, which are folders the consist only of spaces.  FlashFXP will usually not show them in the directory listing but will show then in the RAW listing.  If you are still having problems it could be a folder that FlashFXP itself has problems with.  If you think this may be the case go download BitBeamer and try it on the directory.  You wont have the custom command in here but you can enter RAW Commands and use the same format as the Custom command but replace %d[Whatever] with the folder names.  Each line must be sent individually when using RAW Commands.

If you are getting access denied on renaming folders it is usually because somewhere inside the folder someone is downloading/uploading something.  You can try back later or use the Peeking technique to see inside the folder.

Closing Notes

As I said in the beginning I know that a lot of people may be disgusted that I wrote this tutorial and say that I'm just helping deleters.  Well they would find out one way or another anyway, especially with NKB (there's way more stuff there).  I hope I don't make any enemies with this one, it should answer a lot of legitimate questions that people may have.  Also please respect other groups/peoples work and leave their tags alone if they are current.  Pub stealing and deleting is about as low as you can go, you don't want to go there.

< Back to TOC - Forum - Contact Info >