Tips & Tricks: Fixing Stubborn OS X Trash Problems

January 11, 2010 in Tips & Tricks by Bob Faulhaber

Have you encountered the occasional OS X problem and the inability to empty your Mac’s Trash? There are numerous tricks for forcing the Mac to empty the Trash, but if all fails there is one last method.

Probably the simplest way to fix a problem with Trash is simply to do a reboot, however many times that won’t solve the problem, so you’ll have to try opening Trash in Finder and hold down the Option key while clicking the Empty button.

If that doesn’t work, you can try unlocking and renaming the files located in Trash. Next resort would be to use Disk Utility and Repair Disk or Repair Disk Permissions. If after running Repair Disk any errors are listed and you repair them, you should run Repair Disk again in order to ensure that the error was repaired and doesn’t come up again. Repair Disk Permissions can also be run, repairing any disk permissions that need to be corrected. When finished, reboot your Mac and try emptying the Trash again.

If the Trash still doesn’t empty, it’s time to break out the “big guns” or in other words - Terminal.

Open a Terminal window, and carefully enter the following command to remove the Trash folder:

sudo rm -rf ~/.Trash/

A mistake entering the command could possibly delete other data that you want to keep, so doing a backup prior to this last resort would be a good idea.

After you enter the command, you’ll be prompted for your Administrator password. When complete, exit Terminal and either reboot the computer or simply logout and login again to recreate the Trash folder with the stubborn files gone.

What sort of strange or stubborn OS X problems have you encountered? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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