Previous 1 2 Next 25 Replies Latest reply: Jul 27, 2015 2:47 PM by big-cat
mike693 Level 1 (0 points)

When attempting to move a file from an external disk to the trash, via the Finder, I receive the warning message "The operation can't be completed because backup items can't be modified." I can not move the item to the trash. I can delete the file using the rm command via Terminal. I would like to be able to delete items from this disk, using the Finder again.


I noticed this problem shortly after upgrading from OS X 10.7 to 10.7.1.


I did see the other discussions about similar problems on Time Machine disks. This external disk, which I am trying to delete from, has never been my Time Machine disk, nor has it ever been backed up via Time Machine. I do have another external disk that is used for Time Machine


There are no problems reported by the "verify disk" function in Disk Utility.


Thank you for your time.

iMac, Mac OS X (10.7)
  • LaraCroft_NYC Level 1 (20 points)

    Same here...

  • LaraCroft_NYC Level 1 (20 points)

    Correction: I subsequently foud that I could not delete ANY file through the finder (after repairing permissions with disk utility). After a mild freak-out, I calmed down and rebooted. Problem solved. Thanks!

  • Michael Goodson Level 1 (45 points)

    Just wanted to add that I just experienced the same thing.  A restart did fix the problem as well, but this seems to be a recurring glitch. 

  • jamie80 Level 1 (0 points)

    Rebooting is not necessary, a relaunch of the finder will also do the trick.    Annoying little bug though.

  • Level 1 (0 points)

    @jamie80, Thank you. Relaunching Finder worked for me.

  • MattDawg Level 1 (0 points)

    Both reboot and relaunching finder were to no avail for me. I experience this issue with my TC. Any idea ?

  • CaNe2o1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Wow Thanks jamie80. I relaunched Finder after googling this error message and finding this thread and your post and it worked perfectly. Thanks for the excellent tip.

  • CodeMonkey21 Level 1 (0 points)

    MattDawg wrote:


    Both reboot and relaunching finder were to no avail for me. I experience this issue with my TC. Any idea ?

    I had the same problem, had to use the "Secure Empty Trash..."  command off the Finder menu to get my trash emptied.

  • Iain Simms Level 1 (60 points)

    Thanks for the relaunch Finder tip! In my case this bug seems to have been triggered because I was using diskutil to verify my Time Machine volume at the time I was trying to remove a folder from one of my non-Time Machine volumes.


    Anyway, relaunching the Finder solved the problem even with the volume check still running, so all's well once more!

  • electblake Level 1 (0 points)

    Another happy customer with finder relaunch - I haven't re-experienced it, but mine was created by partitioning my drive (a couple times I should say) heh


    @jamie80 thx!

  • komich Level 1 (0 points)

    One other solution in case you don't have time to reboot: delete the file using 'rm' comand in Terminal.

  • Kavan Sidhu Level 2 (315 points)

    I have the same problem.  Want to delete files of "tmb" time macjine backup.  Relaunch finder and reboot nothing.  Same error.  Can't delete.  Want to free space so more room for backups in the future and renoved it from desktop so it won't bakcup anymore.  But I can't delete it.  I got 3tb hd for future.  Just need to delete time machine some folders in the backup and can't.

  • richardlw Level 1 (15 points)

    I had the same message, but when trying to restore a file from my time capsule. Thanks for the tip. I restarted finder and was able to restore the file to my computer.

  • LaraCroft_NYC Level 1 (20 points)

    Suggestion: I found using the normal "Force Quit" (option-command-esc) feature does not always reboot the finder properly.


    Best and reliable way is to go to Activity Monitor, get the process ID (PID) for the Finder, launch the TERMINAL utility, and type KILL [FINDER-PID]. Double check the Finder's process ID. You don't want to kill something else accidentally.


    I keep both the Activity Monitor and the Terminal app running all the time, because this method corrects a variey of other recurring Finder dysfunctions. If the finder is dysfunctioning, you don't want to be unable to launch either one of these utilities.

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