Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How to Delete Stubborn Files in Mac OS X

Have you ever tried to empty the Trash, only to get a message such as this?
The operation cannot be completed because the item "filename.blah" is in use.
( Stop ) ( Continue )
Obviously the first thing you should do is to verify that any application that might have opened that file is no longer accessing it. An easy way to do that is to quit any related applications. After doing so, try emptying the Trash again. Still no luck? Here's a tip that usually does the trick:
  1. Drag the offending file, folder, or application out of the Trash.
  2. Open the Terminal (found inside the Utilities folder, inside the Applications folder).
  3. Type "rm -r " (without quotation marks, and with a space after the last r) and then drag the stubborn file, folder, or app onto the Terminal window. This will add the full path into the Terminal window. Click on the Terminal window to make sure that it's in front, and then press either the Return or Enter key on the keyboard. Tah-dah! That should do it.
In some rare circumstances, it's possible that even the Terminal trick may not work. If all else fails, restart the computer and then try to empty the Trash again.

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