Cannot delete a folder

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by Fringe28, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. Fringe28 macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2012
    Hello. So i just bought a new MBA and I moved a folder with songs from my USB to the desktop then i did not need the songs from that folder. I tried deleting it it will ask me for my password and i enter it and i get the trashcan noise but the folder is still there chill'in on my desktop :(. So any idea of how I can delete it. Tried googling this but could not find anything
    Thanks in advance!
  2. prisstratton macrumors 6502a


    Dec 20, 2011
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    Maybe some of you deal with stuck directories and files differently, but this is how I deal with them. So, instead of just attacking (as many of you are wont to do), provide an alternative that works for you.


    I do not know your level of computer experience, so either, PAY VERY CLOSE ATTENTION, or disregard as you see fit.

    If you are not familiar with using the terminal, please proceed and type VERY carefully. If you are in doubt at any step in the process…….STOP, as there are commands here that can be DESTRUCTIVE.

    Open a Terminal Window (if you do not know what this is, STOP, and go no further and report back here on this forum)
    You should default to be in your own user directory, to check this, type: "pwd" (without the quotes)
    You should see: /Users/YourUserName (for example, if your name is Bob Smith you would see: /Users/bobsmith)
    Change directory to the desktop, type: "cd Desktop" (again, no quotes)
    You are now in the desktop sub-dir
    Check this, type: "pwd"
    You should see: /Users/YourUserName/Desktop (or, still using the example from above: /Users/bobsmith/Desktop)
    Check the contents to make sure the sub-dir you want to remove is sitting there, type: "ls"
    This will list all items on your desktop, look for the sub-dir that you wish to delete
    To delete the directory, type: "rmdir yoursubdir" (for example, if your sub-dir is called test the command would be: rmdir test)
    If it will not delete, type: "sudo rmdir yoursubdir" (for example: "sudo rmdir test") - you will be asked for a password as you are using the Super User account when you use SUDO (BE CAREFUL)

    Note: the sub-dir will not delete if it is not empty

    If the sub-dir still contains files (and you know that you want to get rid of them), do the following:

    Change directory into the sub-dir, type: "cd yoursubdir" (for example: "cd test")
    Again, check where you are, type: "pwd"
    You should see (staying with the above examples): /Users/bobsmith/Desktop/test
    If you are satisfied that this is the correct location (and make doubly sure, because anything you do here and now is permanent)
    To delete all files in the sub-dir, type: "rm *"
    Step back one level in the directory tree, type: "cd .."
    Now try and delete the sub-dir, type: "rmdir yoursubdir" (for example: "rmdir test")
    If it is still being difficult, type: "sudo rmdir yoursubdir" (for example: "sudo rmdir test")

    Hopefully by this point you are successful

    If a system process is still tied to the sub-dir it might not delete, restart your system and proceed as above (starting over)

    Type "exit" to close the terminal
  3. Fringe28, Jan 7, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012

    Fringe28 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2012
    I did everything you said twice and the folder is still there. The terminal responds with operation could not be completed (or something very similar to this). Any other ideas?
    Thanks :)
    EDIT: maybe the problem is that i played the songs in to iTunes but after i did not want them anymore i deleted them from iTunes and the folder.
  4. tug macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2010
    loughborough. u.k.
    have you tried simply deleting it from within finder?
  5. LostSoul80 macrumors 68020


    Jan 25, 2009
    As already stated, try just this:
    - open up the terminal, then type "sudo rm -rf " without quotes (see the ending space character)
    - drag the folder in the terminal

    It will ask for the password. Report any output (though that's unlikely).
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    click on the folder to select it, then hit cmd-i to invoke the get info. At the bottom of the get info dialog box it will show you sharing and permissions. What does it show for you?

    In the general section near the top, there's a locked check box is that cleared?

    Attached Files:

  7. Fringe28 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2012
    Yeah tried that even before posting on this forum. I just get the trashcan noise but it doesn't move. The folder is still there
    Tried this and it says that the operation cannot be completed :/

    The sharing thing says
    -Fringe (Me) - Read & Write
    -staff - Read & Write
    -everyone - Read & Write
    And the box is not ticked. (the folder is not locked)
  8. tyche macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2010
    Can't understand why rm -rf wouldn't work. Maybe something is holding it open.

    Can you mv the directory?

    You could try booting into single user mode (cmd-s on startup). If you can't delete the directory some single user mode, you might have disk problems.
  9. LostSoul80 macrumors 68020


    Jan 25, 2009
    Indeed. Also, if the account is non admin, a message referring to the sudoers list should pop out.
  10. Fringe28 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2012
  11. turtle777 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2004
    Care to say what finally worked ?

  12. compooter macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2012
    this guy probably had to "unlock" the Desktop directory to allow for changes to occur within the Desktop folder. To clarify, open finder, go to devices, go to mac hdd, go to users, go to your user directory, option click on Desktop folder, click on "get info", make sure the checkbox for lock is unchecked and make sure read write permissions are correct for this folder.

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