Mac os x rm directory not empty

Tried to boot on another High Sierra, mount my main system. Tried to rename and move the folder. Ran DiskUtility. Deleted all TimeMachine local snapshots.

Why bother deleting files with the command line?

Nothing worked so far: Dec 15, 7: I have the same issue, i cannot delete an empty directory. Dec 26, 8: Same here and when it's in the trash you still can't delete it!! So I've made a directory "Undeletables" in my home directory and put it there. I know, "undeletables" isn't a word but who cares. Mojave won't delete my empty directory More Less. Communities Contact Support. Sign in. Browse Search. Ask a question.

User profile for user: Mac OS X Speciality level out of ten: If you are sure you want to remove the directory type: I have a directory named temp-furthur which contains three directories each of which appear to be empty both from the Finder as well as the Terminal. When I try and empty the trash it comes back in use, while rm indicates the directories are not empty.

I have tried rm inside the directory I can tell that the directories are not locked and I have full permissions batchmod, chmod, the whole deal.

ARCHIVED: In Mac OS X, why can't I empty the Trash or throw away a particular file or folder?

I have even tried chflags, but the command returns that the flag nouchg is invalid. Thanx I tried that but the terminal response is: Last login: Thu Aug 22 Directory not empty rm: Directory not empty [ I don't know why that wouldn't work. Dont what ever you do issue this command at the root of your drive. It will list every file and folder on your computer! Hope this helps! DeltaMac Tech Aug 22, If it's only 3 folders inside another folder, why not move the inside folders to the trash individually, empty trash, perhaps problem stems from one empty folder only?

Hi I have tried to individually empty each folder into the trash.


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In nearly all cases, if a directory seems to be empty, use rmdir directory or perhaps sudo rmdir directory. Do not use rm or del under Windows. If this does not work, you need to find out, what blocks this request, fix that and then retry the rmdir. It is very likely that the directory in question was just a mount point from the encfs or residing on a mount point which became readonly or stuck in some improper state which prevented the directory to be removed.

If you now force removal of the directory, very bad things can happen. In the good case the directory really was empty, so removing it destroying the mount etc. In the bad case it wasn't empty, just appeared to be, which means, you trashed something which you perhaps did not want to kill. This all depends on the mount type, which drivers are in use etc.

If things are implemented reasonably well, normally nothing bad should happen.


  1. command line - How to delete a non-empty directory in Terminal? - Ask Ubuntu;
  2. All replies.
  3. Mojave won't delete my empty directory - Apple Community.
  4. However this is not the normal case. Things are in a weird state already, which means: Something is wrong, so better do not try to mix it up even further!

    In Mac OS X, why can't I empty the Trash or throw away a particular file or folder?

    If something is cracked, any wrong touch might break it. For example, if you hit a race condition on a network share, it might be that your rm -rf removes data which is just copied to the share by somebody else. However rmdir is guaranteed to never do harm, besides removing really empty directories. You can detect a mountpoint using the tool mountpoint directory. Alternatively look into the output of mount and try to spot your mounts there. But beware, at least under Linux this might lie. Using the mountpoint utility more reliable but less convenient. In that case you found the mountpoint, you can unmount it and then remove the directory, this is following sequence:.

    Defective filesystems may deny rmdir , depending on the fail strategy. Perhaps you will see a reasonable message in that case, perhaps not.

    Under Linux and probably any modern OS you can also restrict access using different means like mounting something readonly, capabilities like in SeLinux, etc. This then means you do not see that it is a mountpoint, and you do not see anything wrong, but it just does not work. In that case you need to look for some other reason and it can be very deeply buried in the OS. It depends on the tool if you see some reasonable error message. Note that mandatory file locking may be a source, too. While this is normal on Windows, usually it is not the normal case Unix and I never heared it for directories.

    Quite often in such cases, the directory in question resides on a different filesystem than which you thought. You can find out which, with the command df directory I think this is the same under OS-X. You can inspect deeper with tools like stat or statfs on the directory.

    Delete files

    However these are a bit low level for normal people, and quite often such tools are well hidden from normal users. Directories can have files with funny names. Like a file which immediatelty erases the terminal output, so it looks like it isn't there. Try something like ls -al less or use something like MidnightCommander mc. There are trainload of other possibilites, including bugs, haxors, aliens, or perhaps more exotic things like fairies.

    But usually it is not wise to start looking there, instead first try to find the error at your side, because "errare humanum est". Try to open that directory from Windows, there can be something not shown in Mac OS. I had similar issue after a number of copy operations between Mac and Win PC: By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service , privacy policy and cookie policy , and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.