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Ashik, Mac Technician
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 11037
Experience:  Bachelor of Computer Application (BCA), 9+ Years of Experience in troubleshooting Macs, iPhone, iPad, iPod etc
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Im stuck! I cleaned up some (large) archive folders, but

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I'm stuck! I cleaned up some (large) archive folders, but now Trash won't empty. I didn't realize that there was a size limitation on the trash can.

Hi and Welcome. My Name is XXXXX XXXXX I look forward to assisting you today with your question.

Before we start, please remember these things. It may take more than one step/answer to solve a problem. So If my answers don’t work or if you are not satisfied, please don’t Rate my answer as Bad or Poor Service, but please Reply back to me by clicking the “Continue Conversation” or “Reply” button and I will gladly continue to help. Remember, only Rate answer after you are 100% Satisfied.

You can use this application, Trash It. This will force your Mac to trash the file or empty trash even the file is being used by other Applications.

Download TrashIt :!

If that didn't work, then restart your Mac and immediately hold down Shift key on your Keyboard. This will boot your Mac into Safe Mode. Now, try to empty the trash

Please let me know if that didn't work, so we can continue troubleshooting. Don't Rate my answer until you are satisfied and solved the problem.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Sorry, I had also tried TrashIt and didn't include that.

I did start in safe mode but it removes only two files every 10 or 15 seconds - and there are over 70K files. Trash It executes, but I don't get the usual "Thanks for Using Trash It" message and Emptying Trash is not affected.

We can kill trash and create new one.

Open Terminal from Applications > Utilities folder and type sudo rm -rf ~/.Trash

Press return key on your keyboard and restart your Mac.
Did that work ?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Tried twice - Trash is still full.

When you ran that command, did you get any errors ? Also, what version of Mac OS X are you using ?

Turn your Mac off. Turn it back on and this time hold down the Command (Apple) key and the S keys at the same time. This will boot your Mac into Single User Mode. Then type the following command...

/sbin/fsck -fy (note the space between fsck and -fy)

If you can't run /sbin/fsck -fy then type only fsk - fy

Hit return and the disk utility should run and let it finish. When it finishes and there is no error, run the following commands;

rm -r ~/.Trash/*

If that didn't work, run sudo rm -rf ~/.Trash

Then type reboot and hit return. Let the Mac boot up. Let me know how it goes..

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Trash still full. When I ran your command, I received numerous confirmation requests and answered YES to all of them. I wish I knew the YES TO ALL response because there were quite a few. Your instructions didn't tell me about them and I wondered if YES was the correct response.
Yes, Yes is correct response. Did you get any errors when you run this command ? /sbin/fsck -fy
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Nope. Once I answered all of the YES questions, the command prompt re-appeared.
This must be a permission issue. What version of Mac OS X are you using ?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Open Terminal application and type rm -r ~/.Trash/*

Then sudo rm -rf ~/.Trash exactly. Any changes ?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Ashik:I just returned from Christmas Mass. Before I went, I started to Empty Trash. I now have an error message "The operation can't be completed because a required item is in use." I'd closed all programs before I started and even went to the Activity Monitor to ensure nothing was hogging the CPU. Dock was at 1.4% and was the largest single process running.I'll now try what you sent me and let you know.When I entered the test string you provided "rm -r ~/.Trash/*, I received the error message "/.Trash/*: No such file or directory".Rich
Disconnect all external hard drive, flash drives if any and then try the commands I sent you.
Try sudo rm -rf ~/.Trash
Ashik and 5 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I have no idea how this happened, but while waiting for your reply yesterday I received a Christmas miracle. This was hours after I had performed all of the instructions you sent me. I like beating my head against the wall, so, once again, I tried to empty trash. To my surprise, the trash can emptied!

I am appreciative, but would have preferred to pin point what the problem was. As it is, I won't know what to do if it happens again.

BotXXXXX XXXXXne, you did your job and stuck with me even on Christmas Day. I'll rate you very high.

Thanks, Rich
It seems like it is related to File permission. This is a common problem with Macs and running the commands in Terminal usually fixes it. I'm glad you got it solved.

Happy New Year,