Could be many things, we should start with this...
"Try Disk Utility
1. Insert the Mac OS X Install disc, then restart the computer while holding the C key.
2. When your computer finishes starting up from the disc, choose Disk Utility from the Installer menu at top of the screen. (In Mac OS X 10.4 or later, you must select your language first.)
*Important: Do not click Continue in the first screen of the Installer. If you do, you must restart from the disc again to access Disk Utility.*
3. Click the First Aid tab.
4. Select your Mac OS X volume.
5. Click Repair Disk, (not Repair Permissions). Disk Utility checks and repairs the disk."
Then try a Safe Boot, (holding Shift key down at bootup), run Disk Utility in Applications>Utilities, then highlight your drive, click on Repair Permissions, reboot when it completes.
(Safe boot may stay on the gray radian for a long time, let it go, it's trying to repair the Hard Drive.)
If perchance you can't find your install Disc, at least try it from the Safe Boot part onward.
Solving Trash Problems...
I have the install disk and went through both steps - with the disk and then a Safe Boot. There were some "problems" as it went through its cycle. But
When I rebooted and then went to Trash, it didn't seem to make a difference. Here are the steps leading up to this problem.
1. I regularly empty my trash. No problem until a couple of days ago.
2. When I went to empty it after putting some photos in it, it showed I had about 300,000 items in it! I still don't understand how that can happen.
3. For about 2 days, it emptied and final went to zero.
4. I put a few more photos in it. When I went to empty it, there were almost 70,000 items in it. Again, I don't understand how that happened?!
5. It stalled at 19,532 so I killed the computer. When I restarted it, it came back to 19,532 and after an hour went down to 16,750 and then stalled at that number - for hours. I shutdown the computer. After a restart, now everytime I go to empty the trash, it counts up the items in the trash, asks if I want to delete unlocked or all files (I've tried it both ways) goes to 16,750. After a few seconds the window goes away.
6. I repeat this process and the results are always the same.
Did you try this from the last link?
Empty and recreate an account's Trash
The following procedure will "kill two birds with one stone." It will both:
- Empty the Trash of an affected account.
- Create a new ~/.Trash directory, with correct ownership and permissions, for that account.
Perform the following steps in the order specified:
1. If the affected account is protected by FileVault, log in to the affected account, then switch to and log in to your Admin account via Fast User Switching. Otherwise, log in to your Admin account. 2. Open Terminal, located in the Macintosh HD > Applications > Utilities folder. 3.
At the Terminal prompt, type one of the following commands:
If the affected account is: Then type the Terminal command: Your Admin account: sudo rm -ri ~/.Trash Another user account: sudo rm -ri /Users/user_name/.Trash
where user_name is the short name of the affected account.
- There is a single space after each of the terms sudo, rm, and -ri in the command.
- Assure you have typed the command exactly as specified before proceeding: typographical errors in this command can have dire consequences, including erasing your hard drive!
4. Press Return. 5. Type your Admin password when prompted, then press Return. 6. Type y for yes in response to the subsequent prompts to delete each file in the trash and finally the affected .Trash folder itself. The prompts are finished when the Terminal prompt returns. 7. If the affected account is your Admin account, log out. If the affected account was another user account that is logged in via Fast User Switching, log out of that account. 8. Log in to the affected account. It will now have a new, working, and empty Trash.
Steps 1-6 remove all files in the affected account's Trash as well as deleting the hidden and invisible ~/.Trash directory for that account. The remaining steps result in recreating the affected account's Trash, with proper ownership and permissions.
I got this answer on Friday, but didn't try this second solution. I went about my business, scanning photos and then trashing them after I imported them into iPhoto. Each time I did this, trash showed that I had something north of 16,750 items in the trash. When I clicked empty, it deleted files DOWN TO 16,750 then closed the window. This went on for two days - five or six cycles. Today, it shows as empty and several times when I sent things to trash and then went to empty it, it showed maybe 40 items and quickly cleared trash to zero.
So problem solved! (Just not sure why the two-day lag in it being completely solved?)
Thanks so much for your help!