8 Replies Latest reply: Apr 29, 2013 2:21 PM by Kimdia
bennyleb Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)



I got items in the trash I want to delete but I get an error message saying “The operation can’t be completed because an unexpected error occurred (error code -8003).


Anyone knows what it means?


I have an external HD on which I backup my Mac using Time Machine. What I wanted to do is to delete all my previous backups so I put the Backups.backupdb in the trash. Then I tried to empty the trash and I got this error code -8003. I cannot put the Backups.backupdb folder back on the external HD because it will make a copy and not just put it back on.


I ran Disk Utility on the external HD and everything's fine.


Thanks for your help!



MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.7)
  • 1. Re: Error code -8003
    CT Level 6 Level 6 (15,535 points)

    That approach to cleaning up backups is a problem, I'm afraid.


    Try this:





  • 2. Re: Error code -8003
    bennyleb Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks, Charlie.

    I used Trash It! and it emptied the trash without any problem.

  • 3. Re: Error code -8003
    CT Level 6 Level 6 (15,535 points)


  • 4. Re: Error code -8003
    ProEdgeBiker.com Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    AWESOME GUYS!! I was also trying to figure this out for the last 5hrs.. Thanks! Trash it did it..

  • 5. Re: Error code -8003
    PrensesJulia Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks Charlie!!

  • 6. Re: Error code -8003
    calbob84 Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Old backup files can be deleted from Time Machine by entering time machine, going to he oldest backup, click on the "perform tasks on selected items" (looks like the common Advanced botton), select delete file and the file will be deleted. You can work your way forward until you are satisfied with what  files are left. I also had the problem of dragging the backup files to trash and got stuck not being able to delete them. I used TecTool to boot using TT and then emptyed trash.

  • 7. Re: Error code -8003
    jkaiproductions Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    The reason why some of the files are blocking the trash from emptying is because of specific ".app" files from third party companies like Adobe products. Not the user files or the various help documents but instead the actual mother program. Here's how to fix this problem:

    1) remove from the trash all the actual software programs like Photoshop, InDesign, DreamWeaver and so on and put them on the desktop.


    2) Command "I" (info) and when the dialog box opens go to the "Name & Extension" text box and remove the ".app" from the software name. Example: Photoshop.app change to Photoshop.


    3) the program icon will change to a "folder icon".


    4) put the folder icon back into the trash and you should be able to now empty the trash.


    If you continue to get the error code 8003 it's because you may still have one or more software programs in the trash that needs to go through this process. Remember - it's not the user files or help documents or supporting files that is causing this but instead the "actual product programs".


    PS: not sure if this is the solution for "Time Machine" but it may work too. Just that there would be a large number of files to repeat this process.



  • 8. Re: Error code -8003
    Kimdia Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Yup, that was exactly it!   I had trashed Adobe Reader!?  Emptied like a breeze... EASY PEASY.

    AWESOME advice!

                                      Thanks   -KIM-