6 Replies Latest reply: Feb 22, 2012 12:39 PM by Texas Mac Man
ls15 Level 1 Level 1

So this probably is ridiculous but I have a fear of emptying my trash. There are about 5,000 items in it and I worry that if I empty it, something will stop working on my computer. I work on Parallels for work, and I worry I might have moved a file in there and then it will be gone. I know this is probably ridiculous, but my question is, if something important was in the trash that was needed to function a program (Parallels or otherwise), would it already be ineffective? I hope that makes sense.


Yes, please humour me. Thanks!

  • a brody Level 9 Level 9
    Classic Mac OS

    Most programs these days are "modular", meaning they use many different component files.  If you trash a file that is necessary for a program's function, if it reaches the point in code that needs that file, it will either crash, or issue an error message, or if coded properly will give you a chance to recover it and place it back to where it should be.  The command-Y command sometimes will restore a file to where it once was.  Sometimes though you might want to contact the developer to double check the file's original location, if that's not what happens.  It generally is recommended you quit any program before attempting to restore its component parts.  Some programs are good enough to make their self-replacements and heal any missing files.  So double check that's not what has happened either before attempting a restore.

  • ls15 Level 1 Level 1

    Hello! Thanks for your quick reply.


    That isn't quite what I mean.


    Everything on my Mac is working fine. All of my programs have no issues. But over the past four years, I've seldom emptied the trash (as I mentioned, about 5,000 things in it).


    I'm just worried that if I DO empty it, could that result in one of my programs not functioning properly, or, would it already not be if it was in the trash, anyway?


    Basically, I am just worried to empty my trash and affect any programs on my computer.

  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10

    Most of the time you'd know already if something was going to fail if in the Trash & Emptied, just not 100%, more like 99.99375%


    How much free space do you have on your drive now?

  • ls15 Level 1 Level 1



    Thanks. My trash isn't emptied. I'm just wondering that if there is an important file in there (that I haven't emptied, but IS in the trash), is it still functional? It is because I am worried that I might delete something important.


    As I mentioned, I have almost 5,000 things in my trash, and 28gb available still on my MacBook, but I just want to be able to empty my trash if I can. I'm just worried I deleted something important.


    I'm sorry this doesn't make sense

  • a brody Level 9 Level 9
    Classic Mac OS

    Clone your data*




    Test your system after emptying your trash until you are satisfied eveything is functional, before backing up again.

    If something is broken, restore your clone, and start finding out if contents related to what is broke may be in your trash.

    To do this, see if moving the contents of the trash to a new folder on the Desktop recreates the break or not.

  • Texas Mac Man Level 8 Level 8

    If you have a file like a .jpg or .doc and try to open ot while the file is in the Trash, you will get this message:


    The document "name" could not be opened because it is in the Trash.

    To use this item, drag it out of the Trash first.


    If you have a file like a preference (.plist) file, not to worry, because a new preference file has already been created.


    If you have a file necessary for an application to function, the app won't work or you will get some error message. So if all your apps seem to be working OK, not to worry.


    Here's something you could do to ease your concerns. Make a new folder on your desktop and name it InterimTrash. Then open your Trash folder & do a Select All & drag all the files from the Trash to the new folder. Then do a quick name review of the approx first 50 files. If they appear to be files you don't need, drag them to the Trash & empty the Trash. Then as time permits, keep doing this until all the files have been trashed. In particular look at files ending in .app. These are applications & may be something you might not want to trash. It's a bit tedious, but you need to do this.


     Cheers, Tom