Why cant I delete some files?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by felixen, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. felixen macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    #1
    I have a bunch of album covers that got transfered from my old windows computer. I want to delete them but when I drag them into the garbage can nothing happens. It asks me to type in my password which I do but it doesnt delete the files. When I hit more info on them it doesnt say they are locked or anything
     
  2. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #2
    Are they on your OSx hard disk or an external?
     
  3. Drewsky87 macrumors 6502

    Drewsky87

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Location:
    MD
    #3
    Check the permissions (right click and get info). When I transferred files from my windows machine I did not have read-write privileges and had to change it to edit the files.
     
  4. felixen thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    #4
    they are on my macs harddrive.

    its weird, cause I have this folder called Music and in there I have one folder called Albums and a bunch of other folders called "Cormega", "Nas", "2pac" all according to the artist. In each folder I have an image of the artist because on Windows you could have this picture on the folder itself (cool feature I cant seem to find on OSx) and on each folder inside the Album folder I had an image of each album as well.

    Then after I copied the whole Music folder to the external harddrive and copied it from that and over to the mac mini, now I have a bunch of images of both artists and album covers lying around in the Music folder. I never had any image files here originally, they used to be inside all the folders. Theres even a Maria Carry image and I never had any music by her.

    So its kinda weird, but the annoying thing is I cant delete it. As for the above post, I just tried this. It wasnt set to read and write or whatever so I changed that, but I still cant delete anything
     
  5. felixen thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
  6. rastersize macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    #6
    One way that will work (unless the images are on a Windows partition?) is:
    1) Open Terminal.app (in Applications/Utilities),
    2) Move to the directory where your files are. Use "cd" to change directory, to move to the Music directory type: cd Music,
    3) Then remove the files with super user (on windows called admin) privileges by typing: sudo rm -f file-1.jpg file-2.jpg

    Hint: You can use the "tab" key, just above the caps-lock key, to auto complete file and directory names.

    Warning: With these commands you can remove any file or directory, and I mean any file or directory, so use it with precaution.

    Clarification: "sudo" means do whatever follows as the super user, "rm" means remove whichever file or directory that follows and the "-f" stand for force and is there so that you don't need to type "y" for every file or directory that you have asked "rm" to remove.
     
  7. Stevee00 macrumors newbie

    Stevee00

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    #7
    Same Problem

    I'm having the same problem. Trying to delete files and folders. Except they are all on an external drive. Can't see how to use the terminal to go there.

    The folders are not locked. I have full admin permission and know my password. The folders show "read and write" permission. WTF? Why can't I delete my own stuff? I have not done anything funny to cause this.

    And the problem is only with some folders, not others in the very same directory.

    I'm running the latest OS X on an iMac. Nothing strange about the setup. The external shows as "My Book" in Finder.

    Help!
     
  8. jmpage2 macrumors 68030

    jmpage2

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    #8
    Can you guys delete them from the Terminal command line?

    rm followed by the file name, assuming you are in the correct directory.
     
  9. Stevee00 macrumors newbie

    Stevee00

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    #9
    Thanks for the advice, but I've never used the terminal command line. I'm not a techie, I run my own one-man business and I switched to Mac so I wouldn't have to struggle with digging into the operating system ever again and employing arcane code. There's got to be a simple explanation for why my iMac is locking me out from controlling some of my files. I see others are having the same problem.

    Can anybody suggest a Finder or System Preferences-level fix for this problem?

    Again, the files I can't delete are on an external drive that is permanently attached to my iMac. It's an old backup iTunes directory that is giving me the most problem because it's taking up 80 gigs of harddrive space that I need.

    Thanks,

    Steve
     
  10. jmpage2 macrumors 68030

    jmpage2

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    #10
    Well, if you aren't willing to do the simple task of opening the terminal, going to the folder in question with the "cd" command and then issuing rm to remove it I can't help you further.

    Regardless of how simple an OS is there are times when you have to delve a little deeper. The command line on the Mac is not "arcane". It's UNIX which is one of the most sophisticated and elegant OS ever developed. It's worth knowing 1 oz of how this stuff works for your own benefit.

    You might want to give Apple a call to see if there's a way for you to fix the problem with the Finder.
     
  11. aicul macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    Location:
    no cars, only boats
    #11
    If you copy large groups of files from one mac to another, I have observed that there can be some issues with permissions.

    Rather than fight permissions with terminal or disk utility I have foynd the following solution effective 100%

    on the originating computer (PC or MAC) create an archive ZIP files, then copt the file and decompress. No more permission issues.
     
  12. Stevee00 macrumors newbie

    Stevee00

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    #12
    aicul, thank you. That's a tip I can use and will heed in the future.

    jmpage2 (or anybody), how do I change drives in terminal mode? The files are on an external harddrive.

    Is there are list of the most common terminal commands somewhere?

    The bigger issue is how to undo a bug in the Mac OS that changes permissions on big files for no apparent reason, and with no way to reverse it without digging down into the raw terminal commands.

    Steve
     
  13. 300D macrumors 65816

    300D

    Joined:
    May 2, 2009
    Location:
    Tulsa
    #13
    Restart the computer and see if they disappear.
     
  14. rastersize macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    #14
    To change "drive" (it's not that much changing drive on Mac OS X/Linux and so on as it is on Windows since it is just another directory) you should list the contents of the directory /Volumes/:
    Code:
    ls -l /Volumes
    In the output you should find your external drive. Then change to the "drive"(/directory) of your external drive.
    The ouput should look something like this:
    Code:
    ls -l /Volumes 
    total 36
    drwxrwxr-x 14 aron staff   544 Apr  9 21:59 Backups
    drwxrwxrwx  1 aron staff 32768 May 19 23:15 SCRATCH
    lrwxr-xr-x  1 root admin     1 May 19 23:59 System -> /
    
    Where the first column is the permissions on the directory (the first letter is a d which indicates that it is a directory, user, group and everyone). The third is the owner (user) of the group wheres the fourth is the owner group. After that we have the size (in bytes) Then comes last modification date and last we have the name of the directory (files can also been shown).

    Code:
    cd /Volumes/Name\ Of\ Directory
    Hey! What the h*ll did he just do there? There were no back-slashes (\) in the name from the ls output? Well you have to escape the spaces or else the terminal will think that there will be a new parameter to the command.

    If we hadn't put the back-slashes before the spaces in the directory name cd would have tried to change to the directory /Volumes/Name which doesn't exist resulting in an error (cd: no such file or directory: /Volumes/Name). One method to simplifie the typing of complex command names or paths is to use the <tab> key. If you type the following (and press the tab-key when there is <tab> mark) you should get the following result:
    Code:
    ls /Vol<tab> => ls /Volumes/
    cd /Vol<tab> => cd /Volumes/Name<tab> => cd /Volumes/Name\ Of\ Directory/
    
    As you can see the terminal will auto-add the back-slashes for you. Very handy!

    One more thing to note is that the terminal is case-sensitive. /Volumes/Name is NOT the same thing as /volumes/name.

    Oh and a short(?) list of commands that will work in the terminal: http://www.ss64.com/osx/

    If you have more questions feel free to ask.
     
  15. Stevee00 macrumors newbie

    Stevee00

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    #15
    Rasterize, thank you for your extensive instructions. I'll give it a try. But I have to admit, all those codes are a little scary. If I get one letter or backslash wrong, do I mess up my files even more? I used to know DOS, but that was 25 years ago.

    My plan B is to go on eBay and buy a 1Tb drive, zip and copy everything off the offending external, and reformat the external and copy back onto it the files I want to keep. That should take care of it. The original problem was I was filling up my drives, which is why I was trying to delete big chunks of old backups. More drivespace is the brute force solution.

    Steve
     
  16. rastersize macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    #16
    With the commands cd and ls you can't mess things up. Though rm can mess it up. Another good (but dangerous if handled wrong) thing to know is the asterix, *. This can, as in DOS, be used to match everything.

    Let's say that your files are located in the directory iTunes and you wish to delete all files, right? Then what you need to do is the following:
    Code:
    ls -l /Volumes/
    cd /Volumes/<enter-dir-name-here-with-back-slashe-if-needed>
    ls -l
    sudo rm -fr ./iTunes
    
    Where just entering "ls -l" will list the contents of the current directory (in that case, where the external drive is called External, "/Volumes/External").


    But then again, it is always cheaper to throw hardware on a problem than to throw man-time at it if possible. And harddrives are so cheap these days.
     

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