How Do I Empty Powerbook Trash?
March 30, 2005 10:45 PM   Subscribe

My new Powerbook's harddrive is full (93 GB) so I tossed many huge DVD files. Now I can't empty the trash. How do I force it to empty the trash?
posted by Toolshed to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Use rm to delete files from the terminal. It doesn't require the overhead of the trash.
posted by mexican at 10:53 PM on March 30, 2005

What error do you get when you try to empty the trash?
posted by xil at 11:15 PM on March 30, 2005

open the Terminal. It's in the Utilities folder in the Applications folder. type

cd .Trash[return]

Then type

sudo rm -rf *[return]

It'll then ask you for your password after which it'll delete everything in your trash.
posted by Utilitaritron at 11:15 PM on March 30, 2005

Someone who doesn't already understand rm and *nix paths should defnitely consider more user-friendly options first. Too easy to go badly awry with a badly constructed rm. Force Empty Trash", for instance, is simple and (usually) effective.

Is "Empty Trash" grayed out? Or is is just leaving stuff when "Empty Trash" is selected? If the latter, the files may be locked. Click on a file, use File > Get Info, and uncheck "Locked". Now they should be deletable.

Finder > Secure Empty Trash deletes more aggressively than the regular option. When files are really stubborn, it usually zaps them. However, doing that on 93 GB could literally take hours to days to complete that operation.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 11:24 PM on March 30, 2005

If it complains the files are locked, hold down the Option key when selecting the Finder menu, and you'll notice "Empty Trash..." has become "Empty Trash". The latter will delete anything that isn't in use, no questions asked.
posted by cillit bang at 4:26 AM on March 31, 2005

Cocktail is a handy utility to have. Among other things it can remove stubborn files from the Trash.
posted by kongg at 8:38 AM on March 31, 2005

Big warning!

If you do as Utilitaritron advises, make darn sure that you are actually in the .Trash directory, before using rm. If you misspell 'Trash', or get the capitalisation wrong, and you've just opened Terminal, the cd command will fail. If you then run the rm command anyway (perhaps because you don't understand the error message generated by cd failing, you will wipe out your entire home directory. That's a bad thing.

Be very, very careful whenever you use "rm -rf *". My personal advice is, unless you are really comfortable on Unix, never, ever use it in combination with sudo. The potential for catastrophe is far too high.
posted by veedubya at 9:21 AM on March 31, 2005

I followed the unexpected but effective instructions in Mac Help using TextEdit and a created folder called remove.rtf which cleared the trash. One file was still stuck in it: wmphelp. I had tossed a copy of WindowsMediaPlayer and (suspiciously) it just wouldn't go. Apple Support had to talk me through dynamiting the thing out of there. Thanks to all for all the help.
posted by Toolshed at 3:27 AM on April 1, 2005

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