How to delete a file?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by stimpy, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. stimpy macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2009
    To remove a file from storage media such as a USB Flash drive - I understand the file has to be deleted and not simply moved (I can't see the logic to this but that's not important)

    I have also discovered that moving it to the trash doesn't count as deleting either (now I really can't see the logic to this either).

    So I have to empty my entire trash can, every time I want to burn some new files to my Flash Drive - this seems a tad overkill as I like to keep my trash full for a month or so just as an extra precaution.

    There surely must be a way to delete just one file on it's own?

    Thanks's hoping.
  2. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    When you delete a file by moving it to the trash, the space is not freed up - the file is simply marked by moving it to the trash and the file name entry marked as well so it doesn't show up on the drive. However, the file itself has not been changed. The only way to free up the space is to empty the trash. If you are keeping stuff in the trash for a month, you might need to re-consider use of the trash. Pretty much the same thing happens on windows.
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    By default, when you drag a file from one drive to another, it copies, rather than moves it, since that's usually what people want to do.
    Moving to the trash, rather than deleting, allows you to change your mind and recover something you accidentally trashed.
    If you want it gone, you just have to empty the trash.
  4. atszyman macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2003
    The Dallas 'burbs
    It is mildly annoying that you cannot selectively delete from the trash as you can in the recycle bin in Windows.

    However if you're not afraid of the command prompt you can always open up a terminal window and navigate to /Volumes/Flash Drive and use the rm command to instantly and permanently delete any file much more quickly. Be careful though since there's no confirmation or second guessing once rm is used.
  5. stimpy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2009
    Yeah I know how trash works - in windows though, you don't have to permanently delete 1000 other (totally unconnected) files just to remove one file from a USB stick.

    I don't see why it's 'all or nothing' with OSX.

    Defies logic.
  6. lordthistle macrumors 6502

    Feb 29, 2008
    Trash management in Windows is much better than in Mac OS. Besides you told, there is the "Restore from trash" functionality missing.

  7. oneEG6 macrumors member

    Dec 29, 2008
    I guess "trash" means just that... why not create a folder for "pending trash" and just move your files there until you're really ready to delete them?
  8. pooky macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2003
    Well, one way to do it is to make sure your flash drive is formatted as FAT32 (this is the default for most flash drives anyway). When I delete a file from my flash drive, I am told it will be deleted immediately.

    The other option, as someone already pointed out, is to use the command prompt. For the instructions below, substitute <drive name> with the name of your flash drive, and <file name> with the name of the file you want to delete. Do not include the brackets.

    Fire up terminal (located in Applications/Utilities).

    For single files:
    rm /Volumes/<drive name>/<file name>

    For empty folders:
    rmdir /Volumes/<drive name>/<folder name>

    For not empty folders (will delete all contents)
    rm -Rf /Volumes/<drive name>/<folder name>

    Be VERY careful with the last one - make sure you type in the exact name of the folder you want to delete, and only that name. A typo with that command can ruin your life.
  9. portent macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2004
    I never understood why you would put something into the Trash that you wanted to keep around. I mean, if I have some leftover pizza that I might want to eat, I put it in the fridge, not my trash can. If I put it in the can, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to decide that I'm still hungry for it.

    Yeah, I do miss the Put Away command.
  10. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    That's what we need! A right-click menu item that says "Move to Fridge"

    Picture 8.jpg
  11. stimpy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2009

    I figured out how it is possible to remove a file from a memory stick without using the trash can or making some clever apple script.

    You just move the file

    I've been looking for this solution for 2 years - everyone and every forum I have asked says you have to 'trash and delete'.

    I knew apple weren't that stupid :):):):)

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