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How to Empty Trash on Time Machine Volume?

5399 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Jan 21, 2010 3:12 PM by Pondini RSS
Maxwell’s Demon Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Dec 13, 2009 9:07 AM
I began getting "Backup failed with error: 11" messages from Time Machine. So I used a technique that worked with TM before: I deleted the ".inProgress" file left behind in my TM volume after the error occurred (I found that "solution" here: <http://tinyurl.com/5gacqy> via here: <http://tinyurl.com/o2b6lo>).

Although it worked as before, TM did need to spend a half day performing a deep traversal the first time it ran after I deleted the file (which, IIRC, is what I've experienced before when using this technique). But what’s troubling is that this time, the ".inProgress" file I deleted can’t be emptied from the Trash: Any time I empty my Trash, everything gets deleted except that file (and the Trash’s “progress” thermometer bar remains up and running, basically not showing any progress).

I did a Get Info on the file, and found its path to be /Volumes/<name of my TM drive>/.Trashes/501. So, this seems to be telling me the obvious: The ".inProgress" file that I deleted from my TM volume is sitting in the TM volume’s Trash (“.Trashes/501”).

How do I get rid of it?
iMac (24", 2.8 GHz) • 2GB RAM • 320 GB HDD • Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 13, 2009 9:45 AM (in response to Maxwell’s Demon)
    In most (or all) cases, that advice is just plain wrong. Time Machine will recover a failed/cancelled backup all by itself.

    If you get that error, see #C3 in the Time Machine - Troubleshooting *User Tip,* also at the top of this forum. It will show you how to locate the message(s) that describe the problem, then help you fix it.

    Never move, change, or delete any TM backups via the Finder. That can hopelessly corrupt them.

    To force-empty the trash on your TM drive, open the Terminal app (in your Applications/Utilities folder). Be *very careful* with this app. It's a direct link into UNIX, the underpinnings of OSX, but without the protections of OSX.

    In Terminal, the prompt looks like this: user-xxxxxx:~ <your name>$

    (where <your name> is your short user name). It's followed by a non-blinking block cursor (unless it's been changed via Terminal > Preferences).

    Type the following exactly as shown, placing the name of your Time Machine partition between the quotes, and be sure to place spaces where shown:

    sudo cd /Volumes/"Time Machine Backups"/

    and press Return. Then enter:

    sudo rm -rf .Trashes/

    and press Return.

    Then do a +*Repair Disk+* (not permissions) on your TM drive. That may repair the damage, and your backups may be intact. Your next TM backup may be lengthy, as it may do a "deep traversal," comparing every folder (directory) on your system to the backups.

    If not, you may have to erase the drive and let TM start fresh.
    24" iMac 9,1 2.66 GHz; 4gb; 640 gb, Mac OS X (10.6.2), dual-band AEBS v. 7.4.2
  • Oliver Wang1 Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 21, 2010 2:11 AM (in response to Maxwell’s Demon)
    Was this ever resolved? I'm having the exact same problem. I can't delete .InProgress files that ended up in my trash.
    MacBookPro 15", Mac OS X (10.4.10)
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 21, 2010 8:36 AM (in response to Oliver Wang1)
    Do you mean you can't empty the trash? Is it taking a very long time (it probably should), or you get messages about things being locked or in use?

    Did you try the Terminal command above?

    If all else fails, you may have to erase/reformat your TM drive.
    24" iMac 9,1 2.66 GHz; 4gb; 640 gb, Mac OS X (10.6.2), dual-band AEBS v. 7.4.2
  • Oliver Wang1 Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 21, 2010 10:07 AM (in response to Pondini)
    Yes, I meant that i can't empty the trash. In December, a power failure interrupted a Time Machine backup, creating an .inprogress file that (not knowing any better), I tried to delete manually by moving it to the trash.

    At the time, I didn't try to empty the trash and it wasn't until yesterday that I was trying to empty trash, with my TM-HD hooked up, and it was stalling on deleting that one file. TM also takes an unusually long time to execute a back-up (though it does work when I try).

    I tried to follow the terminal commands as given in the thread but while I didn't get an error message in executing them, nothing happened. The item still remained in the trash.

    The commands I gave were:

    sudo cd /Volumes/"Maxtor"/ (Maxtor being the name of my TM drive)
    sudo rm -rf .Trashes/

    As noted, UNIX accepted both but I couldn't see any completed actions. Did I enter in some wrong information or command line?

    Thanks.
    MacBookPro 15", Mac OS X (10.4.10)
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 21, 2010 10:20 AM (in response to Oliver Wang1)
    Oliver Wang1 wrote:
    Yes, I meant that i can't empty the trash. In December, a power failure interrupted a Time Machine backup, creating an .inprogress file that (not knowing any better), I tried to delete manually by moving it to the trash.

    At the time, I didn't try to empty the trash and it wasn't until yesterday that I was trying to empty trash, with my TM-HD hooked up, and it was stalling on deleting that one file.


    It's not one file. It's a "package" containing many items, perhaps thousands.

    TM also takes an unusually long time to execute a back-up (though it does work when I try).


    When you try to empty the trash normally, with the TM drive attached, do you get any error messages?

    Have you tried holding down the Option key while emptying the trash?

    If all else fails, your best bet is probably to erase your Time Machine drive (via +Disk Utility,+ in your Applications/Utilities folder), and let TM start over.
    24" iMac 9,1 2.66 GHz; 4gb; 640 gb, Mac OS X (10.6.2), dual-band AEBS v. 7.4.2
  • Oliver Wang1 Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 21, 2010 10:41 AM (in response to Pondini)
    It hangs on "Preparing to empty the Trash" but now I think I know why: the file is over 600GB. Option-Trash doesn't do anything different from just the normal way.

    1) Would the UNIX commands do anything different?
    2) In the future, if I run into this problem again (finding an .InProgress file on my TM-HD), what is the proper way to remove it?

    Thanks again.
    MacBookPro 15", Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 21, 2010 10:58 AM (in response to Oliver Wang1)
    Oliver Wang1 wrote:
    It hangs on "Preparing to empty the Trash" but now I think I know why: the file is over 600GB.


    And most likely contains several hundred thousand to a few million items (it's the number of items that's the problem, not so much the size). Each item has to be deleted individually; directory entries removed, locations added back to the available space index, etc.

    Be sure you're not doing a Secure empty trash, as that also requires over-writing everything with zeros.

    Option-Trash doesn't do anything different from just the normal way.

    1) Would the UNIX commands do anything different?


    It should, but you've tried that.

    2) In the future, if I run into this problem again (finding an .InProgress file on my TM-HD), what is the proper way to remove it?


    Don't. Time Machine will recover it on the next backup.

    In some cases where a backup fails early, or is cancelled or interrupted early in the process, or it's a small one, people will get away with deleting a partial backup. Some of them then advise other folks to do the same, not realizing the consequences.

    You will not find that advice on these forums from anybody with any experience with Time Machine.

    Emptying the trash might, eventually, complete (I recall one post where it took 3 days to empty 7 million items), but your best bet is to erase the disk and let Time Machine start over.
    24" iMac 9,1 2.66 GHz; 4gb; 640 gb, Mac OS X (10.6.2), dual-band AEBS v. 7.4.2
  • Oliver Wang1 Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 21, 2010 11:22 AM (in response to Pondini)
    I'm trying a different (but similar) set of UNIX commands that seem to be doing the trick. It's now (presumably) deleting the offending files. I'll post an update on whether this actually succeeds.

    Message was edited by: Oliver Wang1
    MacBookPro 15", Mac OS X (10.4.10)
  • Oliver Wang1 Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 21, 2010 12:00 PM (in response to Oliver Wang1)
    I was able to delete the .InProgress file in my Trash by following the directions found here:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=571982

    It does involve using terminal and required two steps.

    First: cd /Volumes/(NAME OF TIME MACHINE DRIVE)

    Second: sudo rm -rf .Trashes

    It will then ask for a password. Upon entering the password, Terminal will process your command and depending on the job, it may take a while (mine took about half an hour). But afterwards, the Trash was empty.

    I'll know better NOT to delete .InProgress files via Finder in the future!
    MacBookPro 15", Mac OS X (10.4.10)
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 21, 2010 3:12 PM (in response to Oliver Wang1)
    Ah, now I see it: I had "sudo" in the first command.

    Sorry; will revise my instructions.
    24" iMac 9,1 2.66 GHz; 4gb; 640 gb, Mac OS X (10.6.2), dual-band AEBS v. 7.4.2

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