Cannot Empty the Trash

Discussion in 'macOS' started by gaz617, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. gaz617 macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2009
    I have done a search but my problem differs in the large number of files I have. Basically (and foolishly) I dragged 6 months of time machine backups into the trash rather than doing the delete through the time machine itself. Now I get error messages (error code:-083, i think) and cannot empty the trash. What is more, I have over 2 million files in the trash from the backups. I need help, either individually deleting files in the trash (without having to empty the whole thing) or any solution would be greatly appreciated.

    I also can't just erase and reformat my external hd as I do not have a drive of sufficient capacity to copy everything over and don't want to buy a new one
  2. electroshock macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    Hmm -- interesting situation (and challenge). What OS X version are you running -- Leopard or Snow Leopard?

    If Snow Leopard, could try opening Trash then cmd-a to select all files/folders and then right-click and select 'Put back' to send the files back to their original locations.

    If Leopard, then an option might be to try to empty the trash by firing up and doing:

    $ cd .Trash
    $ find . -type f|xargs rm

    Note that the above steps, if successful, will permanently delete all files in the Trash.

    ...or if it's somehow possible, try to cmd-a then moving the whole thing back to the original location on the TM volume.
  3. gaz617 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2009
    I'm running SL and tried select all and put back, yet a got error messages again. So, I copied the backups onto the external HD but NOT in the Backups.backupdb folder as apparently this cannot be modified. But, the files themselves didn’t copy over only the folder's. So I have all the 100 odd gigs of time machine backups in the trash unable to be deleted! There has to be some solution- I tried using "Compost" but even that doesn't work! Is there any way to access the .trashes folder and delete them from there?
  4. myuserid08 macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2008
    Format the TM drive, I dont think TM moves the files from the external disk to your Trash, I think it creates a link to your external drive and hides the files.
  5. gaz617 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Yeah, it is definitely volume specific. I can't format as I have no means to copy the very large files over.

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