Stuck with files in the Trash can bin, can't delete even from Terminal

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Rafagon

Genius
Gold
Dec 7, 2011
7,566
1,252
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Miami, Florida
#1
There are some files I'm trying to purge from my Trash Can, but they are being stubborn.

Basically, this is what I saw when I tried to empty the Trash Can after deleting those old Time Machine backups.

negative items.png


And the number kept decreasing, seemingly forever... Others have had the same issue:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1170389

I tried many, if not all, of the suggestions offered in that thread to no avail.

I realize that these files are protected from deletion because even though they are only Time Machine backups, OS X still has very restrictive permissions on the system files contained within the backups so as to prevent people from deleting them accidentally. So I enabled the root user (a user which, as you know, should have any and all privileges to delete anything and everything) by following the instructions in this Apple Support Document.

With the root user now enabled, I created a new user named root1:
Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 10.42.17 AM.png


I went into Terminal again, went into the Trash directory of my external drive (where the Time Machine backups are lingering and don't want to leave), and I CHMOD'd all files to 777 privileges (All permissions, read, write, delete, execute, for all users). Of course, I used the -R command line switch (recursive, so that all subfolders will get that 777 privileges).

Still no luck.

What am I doing wrong? Am I stuck with this old Time Machine backup in my Trash Can forever?
 
Last edited:

Europa

Moderator
Senior Moderator
Dec 12, 2008
28,365
5,505
113
Utah
#2
Do you have anything other than TM backups on the drive? If not, have you considered reformatting it and starting clean?
 

Rafagon

Genius
Gold
Dec 7, 2011
7,566
1,252
113
44
Miami, Florida
#3
Do you have anything other than TM backups on the drive? If not, have you considered reformatting it and starting clean?
Yes... I have a plethora of mp3's that I ripped from my gargantuan collection of audio CDs that I had amassed up until about 2008. That is my only backup of those audio CDs that I made before I realized it simply didn't make sense keeping all those physical CDs around. Unfortunately, I didn't have a friend or family member I could've asked to store those discs for me, so I simply gave them away to a good friend of mine who didn't mind receiving an abundance of physical CDs for free.

I still haven't imported all of those ripped CDs back into iTunes because it's a very tedious process, as I want to get rid of about 30% of those mp3 files that I no longer have any interest in keeping. So I can't just drag-and-drop that whole iTunes folder mp3s into iTunes to import them all. It is a rather huge collection. And another reason I don't want to drag-and-drop the entire folder into iTunes is basically this:

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 2.59.43 PM.png


When you drag-and-drop a plethora of mp3 folders into iTunes, it starts doing its multitasking-multithreading thing and it begins importing a bunch of songs simultaneously (with the best of intentions, I'm sure) and the result is that when you sort your collection by Date Added, the above is what you get. Very messy, obviously. I allowed it stay that way for a couple of albums but as I soon as I realized how ugly that looks, I realized I was going to have to import everything folder by folder (i.e. album by album).

But the bottom line is that you did give me a good idea. I'm going to see if that mp3 collection will fit in one of my other external drives (though it's doubtful)... I can make a copy of that mp3 collection, place it temporarily in that other drive, reformat the drive with the Time Machine backups, and then start clean.

Thank you!