Bug introduced in 10.3.0 or earlier and fixed in 11.1

Bug reproduced on Win but not on Mac

Reply from WRI Support:

[...] This indeed seems to be an issue with the Frontend on Windows and I have alerted the development team about this.

Unfortunately I do not have a work around at this moment other than manually deleting it (and I understand that is not something you are interested in). [...]


So, if your notebook has a private stylesheet and this stylesheet has a parent stylesheet, you can't delete the parent, in the same FE session, even after the notebook is closed.

Something like Default.nb (private) and Core.nb (its parent).


If your application have a more complex StyleSheets system and you want to incorporate some kind of automatic updating of the app, you will have a bad time replacing Package/FrontEnd/Stylesheets part.

Minimal example:

We are going to create a notebook, its private stylesheet and the stylesheet that this parent inherits from.

dir = FileNameJoin[{$HomeDirectory, "Desktop", "directory"}];

nb = Notebook[{
    Cell[BoxData@RowBox@{"1", "+", "1"}, "Input"]},
   StyleDefinitions -> FileNameJoin[{dir, "privateStyles.nb"}]

privateStyles = Notebook[{
    Cell[StyleData[StyleDefinitions -> "defaultStyles.nb"]],
    Cell[StyleData["Input"], FontSize -> 25]

defaultStyles = Notebook[{
    Cell[StyleData[StyleDefinitions -> "Default.nb"]],
    Cell[StyleData["Input"], FontColor -> RGBColor[1, 0, 1]]

Export["defaultStyles.nb", defaultStyles];
Export["privateStyles.nb", privateStyles];
Export["testNb.nb", nb]; (*this will give an error but it doesn't matter*)

 FileNameJoin[{dir, "testNb.nb"}]

NotebookClose @ %;

DeleteFile /@ FileNames["*"]

DeleteFile::privv: Privilege violation for file or directory defaultStyles.nb. >>

{$Failed, Null, Null}

As you can see, the parent stylesheet can be easily deleted. Yet, its parent can't.


Is there any way to proceed that doesn't involve closing the FrontEnd?

Edit by Mike H

This appears to be an OS or version specific problem:

enter image description here

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Using 10.3.1 on OS X 10.10.5 all stylesheets were deleted $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 21:29
  • $\begingroup$ The problem appears in 10.1.0 under Windows 7. Which version are you running? $\endgroup$
    – Mr.Wizard
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 10:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Mr.Wizard 10.3.1, have you tried in earlier releases? $\endgroup$
    – Kuba
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 10:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Mr.Wizard considering the reply from WRI I've included, can we call it a bug? $\endgroup$
    – Kuba
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 7:58
  • $\begingroup$ Smells like a bug to you, smells like a bug to me, and support doesn't think it should do that. Pretty easy decision. :^) $\endgroup$
    – Mr.Wizard
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 9:23

1 Answer 1


In order to drop this topic from an unanswered stack:

Bug fixed in Mathematica V11.1


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