Previous 1 2 3 Next 30 Replies Latest reply: Feb 5, 2016 3:14 AM by nando1980
NN2RL Level 1 (5 points)

Ever since I installed the MAC OS X Update 10.7.4 I notice a new problem that seems to have popped up and gotten worse. When I drag a file [PDF, WMV or a JPG) out of an email onto my Desktop and then later move these to the Trash they will not go away. I get the following message when trying to empty trash:


"The operation can’t be completed because the item “XXXX.pdf” is in use."  I am offered STOP or CONTINUE choices but neither seem to do anything.


I then restart my machine and all seems fine again until I try this again...same hassle.  If I simply delete the email all is fine, but it is only when I drag the file to the desktop or other location and then try to delete it the problem comes back.


Anyone else have this problem and if so, how do we clean this up?


Thanks in advance! 



iMac, Mac OS X (10.7)
  • oleman108 Level 1 (0 points)

    Same here. I have to logout and relogin to work around it.

  • macjack Level 9 (51,622 points)

    That could be happening because the item is in use by Preview perhaps?

    What happens if you quit all running apps, do you still get the message.


    The Stop or Contunue are actually working because you CAN stop and it CAN continue, as long as there are other files in the Trash that aren't effected.

  • Jean-Marie Allier Level 1 (135 points)

    I did some tests with Preview and there seems to be a bug.


    • Open a pdf file in Preview
    • Close the file window, but not Preview. Preview is still open in the Taskbar.
    • Click anywhere on Desktop, Preview closes in Taskbar (only if no other Preview window is open).
    • Drag the file to Trash and try to empty Trash. The file cannot be deleted because still in use although Preview is apparently closed.
    • If I open Preview and select Quit right away, then I can empty the trash!


    So, if you opened your files in Preview this may be the cause. Try to open and quit Preview.

  • NN2RL Level 1 (5 points)

    Thank you, this worked for me too!

  • Bruce Kieffer Level 2 (165 points)

    It's a bug that I believe started in Lion again in 10.7.4. Try Secure Empty Trash by holding down the command key while pressing and holding your mouse pointer on the trash icon. That brings up the secure empty trash command, select it with your cursor. Alternatively, you can access the command while in the finder under the finder menu, or you can set it to always secure empty trash in the finder preferences advanced tab. This type of "trashing" takes longer. Send feedback to Apple asking to fix this bug.

  • rowdynewdy Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks Bruce. Your solution worked perfectly for me.

  • Brett Thomas Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks, Bruce - I was coming here to say that Secure Empty Trash gets around this bug just fine.

  • kristinaklykova Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you, Secure Empty Trash worked for me also:))

  • Stephenbw Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks Jean-Marie; this solved my issue. I hadn't realised that the photo in my Trash that I couldn't delete was still open in Preview.

    As soon as I quit Preview I could empty my Trash completely

  • wvdirtboy Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks. The Secure Trash solution worked for me too. Stange bug.

  • Jemappelle Level 1 (0 points)

    Same distinctive bug encountered on my mbpr.

  • PoeticEmbrace Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you Bruce K.  I'm fairly still new to Mac, the recommended holding down the command key while pointing the mouse to trash and secure empty trash comes up, worked perfectly for me. Thank you very much for the feed!

  • dcperin1 Level 1 (5 points)

    First, try to emtpy the trash securely. Do so by holding down Command+Option+Shift+Delete. If that doesn't work try the following but I warn, be careful:



    Copy the following:  cd ~/.Trash; rm -rf *

    This can be copied by highlighting the above terminal command, then click Command+C at the same time on your keyboard which will copy the desired command.

    Click on the Spolight in top left corner on your Mac;

    Type in 'Terminal';

    Click on the Terminal App;

    When Terminal opens, on the keybard press Command+V  which should then paste the command into Terminal, then simply press enter on your keyboard.


    Your Trash icon on the dock should now be completely empty.. DO NOT FORGET TO QUIT TERMINAL… DO NOT TYPE ANYTHING ELSE IN TERMINAL… QUIT TERMINAL….


    That will 1000% for sure empty anything in the trash that will not delete.

  • NN2RL Level 1 (5 points)

    Thank you for your post, very helpful!

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