Imac High Sierra; can't empty trash; "files in use"


Codger 47

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Hi everyone, first post, so please forgive any idiot mistakes.

I made a mistake; tried to trash some old (12 months) backups done by time machine. Can't delete them.

First restored iMac to an earlier date. No good

Then spent a lot of time online, and tried several solutions.

Started with Apple support. no go.

Tried a a range of other simple fixes. Then a terminal command: sudo-R (space) no return. drag files from trash, enter admin password. return. Command not recognised.

Also have another command for terminal: cs Outil disable. instructions said to enter command via recovery screen. I can get tehrecovery screen, but can't work out how to access the terminal from there.

I am not comfortable using terminal commands due to lack of technical knowledge. I am very careful about entering command code EXACTLY.

I will be very grateful for any help. Please reply as if to a rather dim child.
 
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Spawn_Dooley

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Okay this sounds tricky ... can you report exactly whether or not you are able to start your Mac & get to the Desktop?

Exactly what happens, any error messages?

I've been there done that, trying to trash Time Machine back-ups ... for future use you delete from within Time Machine. There is a cog wheel in the Time Machine Finder Window toolbar & when you navigate to & highlight files/folders you want to delete you click the cogwheel & choose "Delete All Backups Of ... "

Screen Shot 2018-05-01 at 3.28.45 pm.jpg
 

Codger 47

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Thanks for your very quick response.When I try to empty trash I get an error message 'cannot delete files is in use'.My options are continue, stop or skip. If I skip/stop through, anything else in trash is deleted.

Apart from that, my Mac is fine. I will try the fix you have recommended.

By 'fine' I mean it's been working perfectly, except that the magic mouse and keyboard keep randomly disconnecting. Got sick of that after a couple of weeks.Currently using a windows keyboard and a generic wireless mouse
 

Codger 47

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Well, I tried that.It deleted today's backup.

If I open time machine, I can select a folder containing backups, but not delete. Probably doing something really simple wrong. Can't find the cogwheel. will have another look

Looking online gave me complex fixes using on of several different terminal commands beginning with sudo.--they came with a dire warning.
 
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Codger 47

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Part three: have I fixed it? I removed the external hard drive The trash is empty. Put the external drive back, files back in trash. Is it really this simple? Remove external drive from Mac? Wipe using my windows laptop? (I have a backup bootable disc if needed.) Start again, setting up Time Machine to make backups less often.--this all sounds just dandy to me. OR have I gone and gotten it wrong again?
 

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