Delete / Move to Trash

Discussion in 'macOS' started by badman89, May 29, 2012.

  1. badman89 macrumors regular

    Dec 24, 2011
    While using my USB hard drive recently, I just realized that OS X is guilty of some extremely strange behavior when it comes to deleting files.

    I was at my friend's place when I realized that my USB drive was full. I knew that I would need it later at the office, so I used his Macbook to delete a few GBs of data from my USB drive.

    Later, when I got to the office, I plug my HD into the computer only to realize that there is no free space. WTF? I thought I just made some free space. To solve my problem, I had to drive all the way back to my friend's place, plug my USB drive back into the same Macbook and then press "empty trash." I couldn't believe that I had to drive all the way back to my friend's house and use that same Macbook just to recover my own HD space.

    This leaves only two options:
    1 I'm really stupid for not seeing a much simpler solution to this problem.
    2. Apple is really stupid for not creating a much simpler solution to this problem.

    So, which one is it?
  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    When you delete a files on an external drive it goes into the hidden ./Trashes folder on the external drive, so the space on the drive is not really available until you have emptied the trash... and this is where you are now.

    I believe what you are seeing now is a permissions issue. The trash was placed there on one machine with a certain set of file permissions, and now on your machine you do not have those same permissions to delete the contents of ./Trashes

    Try this.

    Open the Terminal and type or copy/paste:

    defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -bool true

    Now open finder and go to the now visible ./Trashes folder on the USB drive and try to open it. You will likely get a message saying you do not have permission. Now select the ./Trashes folder and hit command-i. This will bring up a window. At the bottom left of the window you will probably see that under your user name you only have permission to write and not read from this folder. Just use the drop down in the window give yourself read/write privileges. Now just empty trash as you normally would and you should see the trash folder on the USB drive empty also and free up your space.

    Now revert to the default of NOT showing hidden files by running this command in Terminal:

    defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -bool false
  3. heisenberg123 macrumors 603


    Oct 31, 2010
    Hamilton, Ontario
    dont know anything about terminal but i second your first part, its not deleted untill you empty the trash, if you ever do it again and dont need anything on the drive you could probably just format it in disk utility

Share This Page