TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Viewpoint

Volume Number: 18 (2002)
Issue Number: 10
Column Tag: Programming

Programming

by Ilene Hoffman

User Solutions to Pesky Trash Problems

How would you react if you tossed a bag of trash in the dumpster only to have it bounce back to your feet? Odd as this sounds, the inability to empty the Trash has been one of the more unexpected errors encountered all too frequently in Mac OS X. Web pages are filled with shareware solutions and instructions on how to drop into the command line interface to solve trash problems, but assuming you bought your Mac because you like the graphic user interface, let's look at some common problems and solutions to solving those annoying "can't empty the trash" messages.

First, let me caution you, the Trash Can should not be used to save files for later use. The Trash's function is to remove files from your drive. In fact, files aren't really deleted, but the pointers to the file (sort of like location coordinates) are removed, so that the hard drive space is made available for another file. This is why you can recover deleted files. That aside, when you put something in the Trash, you should delete it before shutting your computer down. Each user in Mac OS X has a separate Trash folder inside the Home folder. This folder is invisible to the user, but you can see files you put in the Trash until it is emptied.

If you are not sure you want to toss something, make a new folder inside your documents folder and call it Undecided, so that you can save it for later. You can drag the folder to the Dock, which puts an alias in your Dock for easy access.

To avoid the "Are you sure you want to remove the items in the Trash permanently" dialog, you can press Control and click on the Trash. Select this menu item to empty the Trash without the dialog. You can also press shift-option-command and the delete key to quickly remove a file. Some common errors and solutions are below.

Problem: Error Message:

"The operation cannot be completed because you do not have sufficient privileges for 501" or "The operation cannot be completed because you do not have sufficient privileges for some of the items."

Explanation:

501 is the numeric equivalent of the first user set up in Mac OS X; this means you in most cases.

Privileges refers to who owns the file, who can write to it and who can read it, and therefore, who has the correct permissions to throw the file out.

Possible Causes and Solutions:

    1. This may be caused by one of programs you've run incorrectly setting or altering the permissions on one or more of your files. An interruption in power, or an application freeze can also affect privileges.

    You can check and/ or change the permissions of the file. Click on the file once and choose Show Info from the File menu (or press Command and I together). In the pop-up menu, in the Info window, choose Privileges and check the file's permissions. You need Read & Write permissions to delete a file. If a folder is the problem, remember to apply the changes to enclosed folders also. If you can't change the file's privileges, you can use Apple's Repair Privileges Utility to restore Apple-installed programs to their default permissions. if you are using Mac OS X 10.1.5. (You can find the Repair Privileges Utility at: (http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=106900.)

    If these solutions don't work, you can also start up from Mac OS 9, use Sherlock to find the file and delete it. You cannot delete a file from OS 9 while in Classic Mode though.

    2. Attempting to throw away a locked file can also generate the insufficient privileges message.

    Again, choose Show Info from the FIle menu. Unclick the Locked check box and move the file into the Trash again to delete it. Prior to Mac OS X 10.1.5, if a file was locked while in Mac OS 9, you would have to restart in OS 9 to unlock the file before you could toss it. This seems to have been fixed in 10.1.5.

Problem Error Message:

Can't empty the trash becasue ".trash items are in use."

Explanation:

Your computer thinks that a file is still open, and therefore cannot delete the file. Some of these problems may be fixed by upgrading to Mac OS X 10.1.5 or Mac OS X 10.2.

Possible Causes and Solutions:

    1. Check to make sure that the file is closed. Switch to the application used to create the file (click on the icon in the Dock). If you're not sure, quit the application used to create the file, then Empty the Trash.

    2. If you are in the Columns View and the file is "open" in the Preview screen, the system is using the file. Put the file away by (i.e. take it out of the trash). Close the Preview screen in the Column View and drag the file to the trash again.

    3. Some users have reported that waiting a while, and even tossing out another file and then emptying the Trash resolves this problem also.

If you want to resolve your trash problems by using other software, you can look at programs such as:

    BatChmod which changes file permissions and can empty the Trash, or

    Trash It! which is an AppleScript for emptying the Trash, or

    ToTheTrash which helps you manage your about to be trashed files.

You can search Version Tracker (www.versiontracker.com) for other current Mac OS X utilities. You really shouldn't have to resort to using Terminal to empty your Trash.

Now, if you like typing, there are also solutions to fixing your Trash problems from the command line interface. In our next article we'll explore some of the those options for the geek in all of us.


Ilene Hoffman is the Community Director and Editor of MacFixIt Forums and a Contributing Editor for MacTech magazine. She stole her first Mac from her Dad in 1984 after asking him to buy a PC. She's not touched a PC since! She is also the mother of a budding jazz musician and two capricious dogs.

 
AAPL
$100.96
Apple Inc.
-0.83
MSFT
$47.52
Microsoft Corpora
+0.84
GOOG
$596.08
Google Inc.
+6.81

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

WhatRoute 1.13.0 - Geographically trace...
WhatRoute is designed to find the names of all the routers an IP packet passes through on its way from your Mac to a destination host. It also measures the round-trip time from your Mac to the... Read more
Chromium 37.0.2062.122 - Fast and stable...
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. FreeSMUG-Free OpenSource Mac User Group build is... Read more
Attachment Tamer 3.1.14b9 - Take control...
Attachment Tamer gives you control over attachment handling in Apple Mail. It fixes the most annoying Apple Mail flaws, ensures compatibility with other email software, and allows you to set up how... Read more
Duplicate Annihilator 5.0 - Find and del...
Duplicate Annihilator takes on the time-consuming task of comparing the images in your iPhoto library using effective algorithms to make sure that no duplicate escapes. Duplicate Annihilator detects... Read more
jAlbum Pro 12.2 - Organize your digital...
jAlbum Pro has all the features you love in jAlbum, but comes with a commercial license. With jAlbum, you can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code!... Read more
jAlbum 12.2 - Create custom photo galler...
With jAlbum, you can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code! Beginner-friendly, with pro results Simply drag and drop photos into groups, choose a design... Read more
Quicken 2015 2.0.4 - Complete personal f...
Quicken 2015 helps you manage all your personal finances in one place, so you can see where you're spending and where you can save. Quicken automatically categorizes your financial transactions,... Read more
iMazing 1.0 - Complete iOS device manage...
iMazing (formerly DiskAid) is the ultimate iOS device manager with capabilities far beyond what iTunes offers. With iMazing and your iOS device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod), you can: Copy music to and... Read more
Xcode 6.0.1 - Integrated development env...
Apple Xcode is Apple Computer's integrated development environment (IDE) for OS X. The full Xcode package is free to ADC members and includes all the tools you need to create, debug, and optimize... Read more
Apple Safari 7.1 - Apple's Web brow...
Apple Safari in OS X Mavericks brings you all-new ways to find and enjoy the best of the web. It works with iCloud to give you a seamless browsing experience across all your devices. It looks out for... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

View Source – HTML, JavaScript and CSS...
View Source – HTML, JavaScript and CSS 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Utilities Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: View Source is an app plus an iOS 8 Safari extension that makes it easy to do one key web developer... | Read more »
Avenged Sevenfold’s Hail To The King: De...
Avenged Sevenfold’s Hail To The King: Deathbat is Coming to iOS on October 16th Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Just in time for Halloween, on October 16 Avenged Sevenfold will be launching | Read more »
Talisman Has Gone Universal – Can Now be...
Talisman Has Gone Universal – Can Now be Played on the iPhone Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Tap Army Review
Tap Army Review By Jennifer Allen on September 19th, 2014 Our Rating: :: SHOOT EM ALLUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Mindless but fun, Tap Army is a lane-based shooter that should help you relieve some stress.   | Read more »
Monsters! Volcanoes! Loot! Epic Island f...
Monsters! Volcanoes! Loot! | Read more »
Plunder Pirates: Tips, Tricks, Strategie...
Ahoy There, Seadogs: Interested in knowing our thoughts on all this plundering and pirating? Check out our Plunder Pirates Review! Have you just downloaded the rather enjoyable pirate-em-up Plunder Pirates and are in need of some assistance? Never... | Read more »
Goat Simulator Review
Goat Simulator Review By Lee Hamlet on September 19th, 2014 Our Rating: :: THE GRUFFEST OF BILLY GOATSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Unleash chaos as a grumpy goat in this humorous but short-lived casual game.   | Read more »
A New and Improved Wunderlist is Here fo...
A New and Improved Wunderlist is Here for iOS 8 Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Evernote Update for iOS 8 Adds Web Clipp...
Evernote Update for iOS 8 Adds Web Clipping, Quick Notes, and More Posted by Ellis Spice on September 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Apple Names Ultimate Productivity Bundl...
Apple Names Ultimate Productivity Bundle by Readdle as the Essential Bundle on the App Store Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 19th, 2014 [ permalink | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Mac Pros available for up to $260 off MSRP
Adorama has Mac Pros on sale for up to $260 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: - 4-core Mac Pro: $2839.99, $160 off MSRP - 6-core Mac Pro: $3739.99, $260... Read more
13-inch 2.6GHz/256GB Retina MacBook Pros avai...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.6GHz/256GB Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1379 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP. Read more
Previous-generation 15-inch 2.0GHz Retina Mac...
B&H Photo has leftover previous-generation 15″ 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pros now available for $1599 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $400 off original MSRP. B&H... Read more
21″ 2.7GHz iMac available for $1179, save $12...
Adorama has 21″ 2.7GHz Hawell iMacs on sale for $1179.99 including free shipping. Their price is $120 off MSRP. NY and NJ sales tax only. Read more
iOS 8 Adoption Rate Slower than iOS 7, 6, Hit...
Apple began pushing out iOS 8 updates to eligible devices around 1pm ET on September 17, 2014. However, unlike with iOS 7, which boasted a wide variety of differences from its predecessor iOS 6, in... Read more
LIkely Final Definitive OS X 10.9.5 Mavericks...
Apple has released what will almost certainly be the last incremental version number update of OS X 10.9 Mavericks (save for futire security updates) before OS X 10.10 Yosemite is released next month... Read more
Fingerprints, Apple Pay and Identity Theft Wa...
On Sep 9th, CEO Tim Cook unveiled Apple Pay, along with the new iPhone 6 and iWatch. Apple Pay is a newly developed technology that utilizes a near field communication (NFC) to enable customer... Read more
Amazon Introduces Two All-New Kindles
Amazon on Thursday introduced the 7th generation of its Kindle dedicated e-reader device: Kindle Voyage, its top-of-the-line e-reader, and the new $79 Kindle, with a 20% faster processor, twice the... Read more
Save up to $300 on the price of a new Mac wit...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free,... Read more
13-inch 2.8GHz Retina MacBook Pro available f...
B&H Photo has the new 2014 13″ 2.8GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1699.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. They’ll also include free copies of Parallels Desktop and LoJack for... Read more

Jobs Board

Project Manager, *Apple* Financial Services...
**Job Summary** Apple Financial Services (AFS) offers consumers, businesses and educational institutions ways to finance Apple purchases. We work with national and Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.