ARCHIVED: In Mac OS X, why can't I empty the Trash or throw away a particular file or folder?
If you cannot delete an item in Mac OS X, try the following:
- Check to see if the file (or a file within the folder) is being
used by an application. Quit all open applications, and then try to
empty the Trash.
- If the item is a file, click the file once. From the
Get Info. If the file is locked, unlock it and empty the Trash. Note that you won't be able to delete a folder if even one file in it is locked.
- If the item is a folder, try throwing away each of the files
within it. Remove files that give you errors, and then try trashing
the folder again.
- You can force the Trash to empty even locked files by dragging
them to the
Trash, then holding down
Option, and then, from the
- Create a new file or folder in a different folder or disk from the
item you want to throw away. Give the new item the same name, and
then move or copy it into the folder where the recalcitrant item is
located. When the Finder asks you if you want to replace
Replace, and then throw the moved item away.
- Run a file repair program such as Disk Utility or OnyX. Once it
has finished, try to empty the Trash or throw the item away. For more
information, see ARCHIVED: In the Mac OS X Disk Utility, what is the First Aid function, and when and how should I use it?
- Log in with an administrator account and try to throw
the file away. If you log in as a normal user, you won't have enough
access privileges to throw away certain files.
- Create a new folder, and then move what you want to delete into
it. Move the new folder to the
Trash, and then empty it.
- If you are using Boot Camp, restart your computer in Windows and run disk repair utilities there. Format errors on the Windows partition can sometimes create items in the Trash that cannot be removed in Mac OS X.
Last modified on December 05, 2012.