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Mike Teflon
Mike Teflon, Computer Software Engineer
Category: Computer
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Experience:  Computer Engg. graduate with more than 7 years of development experience. Writer & Analyst
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How to force-delete a Mac OS X file

Customer Question

I have a file in Mac OS X 10.3.9 that I can't delete. It's named "LilyPond" and is a classic music application. It's not locked nor in use. It's in the trash, and I've have emptied the trash many times, but it just stays there, with no explanatory messages.

When I try "Empty Secure Trash," I get the strange error message, "The operation cannot be completed because the item 'lib' is in use." I don't know of any item by that name anywhere.

One of you gave me the program Eradicator 1.6, which will delete any Mac OS 9 file, but this file only shows under Mac OS X. I don't want to use a Mac OS 9 program under Mac OS X.

How can I forcibly delete this file?

Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Computer
Expert:  Mike Teflon replied 10 years ago.



The following link walks you through all possible cases and is taken from "apple's" website.. I believe that you should be able to delete your unwanted file after following the different steps there..

please let us know, if this solves the problem..



Mike Teflon, Computer Software Engineer
Category: Computer
Satisfied Customers: 475
Experience: Computer Engg. graduate with more than 7 years of development experience. Writer & Analyst
Mike Teflon and 9 other Computer Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Unfortunately, that didn't solve my problem. After following all the suggestions in that link, my stubborn file still exists.

One of the suggestions in that Apple article was to boot from the system CD, and run Disk Utility, and repair the permissions. I tried that, but got the error message, "Disk Utility has lost its connection with the Disk Management Tool and cannot continue. Please quit and relaunch Disk Utility." Then I Googled on that, and found the solution to that error at

That solved the problem that allowed me to repair permissions, but the file still refused to be deleted (I do have read/write permissions for it).

What's your next idea?

Expert:  John D replied 10 years ago.


The following web site has some useful Mac utilities. In particular you will find these utilities to force delete or force empty the trash can, namely, Cocktail, Mac Pilot, Panther Cache Cleaner, and Tinker Tools System.

Hope this helps.

Customer: replied 10 years ago.
I did some tinkering myself and found the solution.

I happened to notice that under Mac OS X 10.3.9, my stubborn file showed as kind "application" with a name of "LilyPond," but Mac OS 9.2.2 showed the very same file as a *folder* named "," which contains a folder named "Contents," which contains a folder "Resources," which contains a folder "lib". And "lib" is what the "Secure Empty Trash" function claimed was "in use."

So I simply booted Mac OS 9.2.2 and deleted the bottom-rung "lib" item. This worked with no problem. Then I re-booted Mac OS X 10.3.9, and was able to delete the "LilyPond" application with no further problem.

Thanks for your help, both of you.