3 Replies Latest reply: Dec 2, 2010 6:23 AM by FlurryM
atarian02 Level 1 (0 points)
I have a file that I cannot delete from my Trash. Every time I try to empty the trash bin, it says "This operation can't be completed because the item is in use." I've checked a dozen times and the file is not in use anywhere. How do I fix this?

Mac OS X (10.6.3)
  • sirfaba Level 3 (610 points)
    If it's a document that you were using in an application, make sure to quit that application first, then empty the trash. You can also try logging out and logging back into your account or just restart your computer and try emptying the trash again.

  • FlurryM Level 1 (85 points)
    you can usually force it to empty by holding holding command when you empty the trash (securely emptying it). I don't know if this is recommended, but it works for me
  • Limnos Level 8 (47,171 points)
    *Trash Problems*
    If trash can't delete because an item is busy, try restarting the computer.

    If trash won't delete because an item is locked, try holding down the option key when emptying the trash.

    Try booting to Safe Mode (hold down the shift key while booting, restart may take a long time but let it go), sometimes just doing that works. Restart normally.

    [You can't empty the Trash or move a file to the Trash in Mac OS X|http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1526]

    [Solving Trash Problems|http://www.thexlab.com/faqs/trash.html]

    [How To Fix Stubborn Trash and Why it Won't Delete|http://www.osxfaq.com/Tutorials/LearningCenter/HowTo/Trash/index.ws]

    [rccharles: Discussion on trashing problem files with Terminal commands|http://discussions.apple.com/message.jspa?messageID=9168842#9168842]

    [Mini-tutorial: Force-deleting stubborn or problematic files in Mac OS X...|http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13727_7-10328342-263.html]

    [Trash immediately emptying and permanently deleting file when you drag a file to it|http://discussions.apple.com/message.jspa?messageID=11390063]

    *Utilities for emptying trash*
    [Trash It!|http://www.nonamescriptware.com/?page_id=5]


    [Super Empty Trash 2.3|http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/16727] - Simple AppleScript applet that will empty the Trash with administrator privileges

    [What's Keeping Me|http://www.hamsoftengineering.com/products/wkm/wkm.html] - lists files open and applications that are using them

    *General Trash Utilities*
    [Smart Trash|http://www.hyperbolicsoftware.com/SmartTrash.html] - menu bar feature for enhanced trash management, including selecting volumes

    [Terminal command line to remove trash on a specific volume:|http://discussions.apple.com/message.jspa?messageID=8986706#8986706] sudo rm -rfi /Volumes/your volume name here/.Trashes/*