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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

Help: trash management and external drives

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riverteeth's Avatar
Member Since: Dec 13, 2007
Location: Taipei
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Mac Specs: Macbook Pro 15" (early 2008, pre-unibody), 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM.

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Hi all,

I've read some past posts about the frustration that some switchers have when the delete files from an external drive to free up space, only to find that the space is not actually freed until you empty the trash. I had the same experience and I'm just wondering how you all deal with this dilemma in general. Do you empty your trash every time you need to “for real” delete files from you external drives? Is it common to run a script like I’ve seen posted for only deleting the .trashes file on a drive (seems like a bit of a pain to me)?

On one level, I hate to have to empty the trash for this purpose, cause I can see the value of actually hanging on to the files I delete from the main HD (as long as I have space), but it’s really common to need to just get rid of those files for good from your flash or external hard drive. Which OS X could put that .trashes file on my HD instead of keeping in on the external.


"The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past." -William Faulkner
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Member Since: Jun 02, 2008
Location: Louisville
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Mac Specs: MacBook 2.1GHz Core 2 Duo | 1GB RAM | OS X 10.6.3 | 250GB External HD | 8GB iPod Touch 1st Gen 3.1.3

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I'm wondering if having Time Machine enabled has an effect?

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Noels's Avatar
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If you don't find a better solution, create a folder on your desktop and put those items you have in trash that you want to save. Then you can empty the trash and still have those files.

I think cuhnool may be right about Time Machine. I use 2 different externals so I can have duplication in my backups. One I use Time Machine, the other SuperDuper. And I only hook them up to do a backup every couple of days or so. That way, TM doesn't constantly backup every hour and fill up the drive. Maybe that would preserve some space on your external if you use TM...

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