10 Replies Latest reply: Aug 12, 2011 10:48 AM by ebinellis
Randy Knowles Level 1 (45 points)

Hello all -  I'm running 10.5.8 on a mid 2007 mini with 4 GB RAM.  Recently I have developed a problem where the trash will not empty.  The problem appeared about the same time as when one of my external firewire drives failed (it was 5 years old).  I've replaced the drive but the trash problem persists.  About the same time we had lots of storms here and I lost internet several times.  All my equipment is on 2 UPS's.  Comcast just completed their repairs outside today and I am finally back to full speed.  Their techs determined that no problems existed at my end causing any of the internet service problems.


The trash shows contents in the dock and normal empty and option empty have no effect.  Only one irtem shows when I open the trash can, its an empty folder zero KB, type: alias.  Its name is all unorothodox charaters which I will try to paste into this message:




The very small diagonal characters read: "N U L".  Date modified is Dec. 31, 1903.  When I try to drag this out of the trash onto the desktop it disappears and the trash shows empty, but clicking on the trash its still in there.  Same thing with Command I, the info box appears for a fraction of a second, then vanishes before I can read anything.  Trash shows empty but clicking on it the item returns.


I've tried Secure Empty Tash and that shows 11 items in the trash, so 10 are invisible, and Secure Empty Trash fails to make any difference.  I've done some searching and found a number of items here relating to trash problems, but all seemed to be for systems substaitally earlier than Leopard.  I have tried Shift + Option + Command + Delete, with no success.  I also tried A. Brody's Force Empty Trash software with no success.  Threads regarding Unix commands I have not treid as I have no background in Terminal at all.


The internal boot hard drive with 10.5.8 seems to be working flawlessly otherwise.  Its a new dive, about 4 months old and passes both Disk Utility verify and Disk Warrior (3%). I have not tried Disk Warrior rebuild on the internal drive yet.  Software Update reports nothing new to dowload.


Anyone have any suggestions to discover what the items in the trash are, whether any problem would present if I am able to delete them, and how to go about accomplishing that?  Thanks for your attention in advance.  - Randy

Mac mini (Mid 2007) Core 2 Duo; 2 GHz, Mac OS X (10.5.8), 4 GB RAM
  • nvnv0 Level 1 (100 points)

    Have you abled hidden files to show?

    For unorothodox charaters files, just rename it and delete it.

    notify if you have tried to delete files from hidden folders.

  • Randy Knowles Level 1 (45 points)

    nvnv0 -


       Thankls for your reply.  I have not yet enabled hidden files to show, as I do not know how to do that.  I will investigagte how that is accomplished.  I can not rename the file becasue when I click on the name nothing happens.  I'll post back here when I have figured out how to enable showing hidden files.


       Thanks again.  - Randy

  • ebinellis Level 3 (685 points)

    Do you use Parallels or BootCamp on this system?



  • Randy Knowles Level 1 (45 points)

    ebinellis -


       I do not have Parallels but I do have a boot camp partition.  I use WIndows XP maybe 5 or 6 times a year max.  I have not used Windows now for several months.


    All -


      The one previously visible file has now mysteriously disappeared from the trash.  None-the-less the icon in the dock still shows contents in the trash, which, when I open it, now appears empty.  I did use OnyX to show hidden files and a several did appear on my desktop.  However when I opened the trash it still shows no contents.


       I ran Secure Empty Trash again, and now it shows 10 items in the trash, but does not succeed in deleting any.


       Thanks for any further ideas.  - Randy

  • ebinellis Level 3 (685 points)

    The files causing your trash to be full are references from your Windows partition.


    The easy way to verify this fact:


    1. Open Disk Utility.

    2. Click on your Windows Partition on the left column.

    3. Click the "Unmount" button from the top toolbar.

    Screen Shot 2011-08-11 at 12.11.56 PM.png

    4 Check your Trash Bin now, if it's still full empty it.


    If it stays empty you will need to isolate what files on your windows drive are being referenced.


    My first guess would be to boot to Windows and empty your Recycle Bin.



  • BDAqua Level 10 (122,286 points)

    Great catch!

  • Randy Knowles Level 1 (45 points)

    ebinellis -


       You are absoutely right - unmounting the BootCamp partition eliminates the trash full icon in the dock and remounting it resumes the full icon.  I went to my Windows and emptied the trash there and verified that its empty.  This did not remove the problem.  I updated my Zone Alarm Secuirty and ran Windows update until it showed no more updates avaialable.  Then I checked the Windows trash again and verified that its still empty.  However when I go back to the Mac side the trash there still shows contents.


       Any idea how to try and insolate what files the BootCamp partition are being referenced?  Thanks again for your excellent help!!!


       - Randy

  • ebinellis Level 3 (685 points)

    What format is your windows partition?


    One thing you may want to do is repair the partition using Disk Utility if its FAT32, or use Windows CheckDisk to verify it.


    Barring that fixing the issue....I'm shoeless.


    its a needle in a haystack




  • Randy Knowles Level 1 (45 points)

    ebinellis -


       You hit the nail on the head!!!!  My BootCamp is a FAT 32 partition.  I went back into Windows XP and ran disk check on the BootCamp disc and it found an unrecoverable error on a folder in /.Trashes/502.  It converted the folder to a file automatically.  When I returned to my Mac System, lo and behlold, the items disapepared out of the trash and it now shows as empty!!!


       Thanks again for your attention and help!!!  You're the best!!!


       - Randy

  • ebinellis Level 3 (685 points)

    My Pleasure.


    I'm glad we have that pesky problem taken care of.