The Ultimate Guide for switching from a PC to a Mac
(Part 2 - coming soon)

Friday, June 8, 2007

Files stuck in the trash!

It happens a lot when cleaning the system and deleting a lot of files that the Finder just doesn't want to empty the trash anymore and says "The operation cannot be completed because the item "" is in use.". That's a good warning if it is true, but sometimes you want to get rid of an app and this warning appears even though the only thing running is the Finder. Usually I restart and I can delete it after. But that is very time consuming and even then, it is sometimes still stuck not wanting to be deleted. There is a risky command that can be used in the Terminal that will empty the trash no matter what. I say risky because a simple error in the syntax could erase a lot of stuff that you want to keep. There is a much easier and quicker way of forcing the Finder to empty the trash no matter what! It is done in the customization and maintenance application OnyX (download here on MacUpdate). Once you loaded OnyX and entered your administrator password, choose "Cleaning" in the top bar. Click on the "Trash" tab. You can now choose whether you want to "Delete" or to "Securely Delete" (by overwriting) and click Execute. That's it, it will force the Finder to empty the trash even if the files are in use!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can usually delete those files, like the one I had earlier today, by choosing "Secure Empty Trash" from the Finder menu... Just thought I'd mention it.

June 7, 2007 at 9:42 PM  
Blogger Frederic Tremblay said...

Yeah but it doesn't work if the files are in use or if the system thinks they are in use.


June 7, 2007 at 10:33 PM  
Blogger Tripplehelix said...

Securely delete does actually work... I JUST did it... lol

I have a little script that force empties the trash.... search google for 'force empty trash' and you can probably find it.

Mainmenu which i think is free also has a force empty option that comes with it, that programs much faster to use as it's always open.

June 7, 2007 at 11:13 PM  
Blogger E to the M said...

If you're a Cocktail user, there's a force empty trash option there as well.

June 8, 2007 at 1:15 AM  
Blogger Saroo said...

I find it easier to do it via console. Just change the directory to ~/.Trash and type command rm -rf * and its gone!!!

June 8, 2007 at 3:52 AM  
Blogger Tarmo Toikkanen said...

Instead of "rm -rf *" I'd recommend using "rm -rf ~/.Trash/*". Why? Because you can reuse old commands in Terminal by using up and down keys (among others), and having something like "rm -rf *" in the command history is a bit risky. Run it in the wrong folder and everything's gone.

As a regular Linux user "rm" is a standard command that is used a lot. It's not considered especially risky, although of course whatever you delete, you delete. No going back.

June 8, 2007 at 12:57 PM  
Blogger DesignGrl said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 8, 2007 at 1:20 PM  
Blogger DesignGrl said...

Sometimes you just need to check the file to see if it's locked. Select the file and do an apple 'i'. Under general you can un-check the lock button and under ownership & permissions you can make sure it's read/write. Once you've done that the empty trash usually works.

June 8, 2007 at 1:21 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Did you try the Option Key when deleting? This is an old trick that still works on OS 10. You press on the Option Key when you ask to empty the trash. Usually, it is working.


June 9, 2007 at 10:15 PM  
Blogger said...

Better than all that software is to simply restart the finder "Apple + ALT + Esc" select the finder, and click relaunch. works every time for me, including when you closed everything and it says the file is still in use.. Regards.

June 10, 2007 at 12:17 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I cannot eject a CD which has pictures after I view them. The same messages comes up, "application in use, close all application and then try again", can any one help me with that.

June 10, 2007 at 12:52 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

There is also a much easier way to do this:

Shift, Option(alt), Command, Delete when you are in the 'Trash' window.

June 13, 2007 at 4:12 AM  
Blogger Korey.V said...

I cannot get the trash to empty, when I do it with secure delete it keeps on saying that the item "Resources" is in use. When I try it from the command line it keeps saying directory not empty. Any ideas, anyone?

June 21, 2007 at 2:58 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Finally, a place to find help!

I'm a new mac user, and..
When you download DMG then mount them, a weird drive-like icon is formed on the desktop.. for example, I installed Azureus and a drive-like icon with Azureu's icon on it formed. Now that Azureus folder will always open once I reboot, and I can't eject it. If I eject it while Azureus isn't open, will it disappear? I don't want to risk this..

Also, now that I mounted the Azureus DMG, he's still there.. and I can't delete this either. I have like 5 of those. If I use the program you said and force delete it, will it do anything to my computer?

July 9, 2007 at 4:47 AM  

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