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  1. #1
    Can't delete Time Machine Backups from Trash
    I manually deleted a bunch of Time Machine backups from a Seagate USB drive (using Finder). The backups are in my trash, but I can't delete them. I tried the Option Delete and Shift-Option Delete, but I get the same results. The trash emptying process gets stuck after a VERY long time and says it can't delete certain files. If I disconnect the USB drive the deleted files disappear, but they reappear as soon as I connect it again.

    Any ideas on how to delete what the delete dialog box says are about 4MM files! I'm running 10.12.6Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 2.31.39 PM.png

  2. #2
    Can't delete Time Machine Backups from Trash
    chscag's Avatar
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    Your first mistake was using Finder to delete Time Machine backups. The proper way to delete Time Machine backups is to open Time Machine, highlight the backup you wish to delete on the right side, authenticate with your Admin password and then wait until Time Machine completes the deletion. You must do each one individually.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    Your first mistake ....
    I already figured that out. My question was not "HOW" to delete backups..but How to Empty my Trash given the situation.

  4. #4
    Can't delete Time Machine Backups from Trash
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    You can't. You don't have the right permissions to do that, as a protection for Time Machine. I would try attaching the TM drive, then try to restore the backups from Trash and if that works, use the method chscag said to use.

    Frankly, I'm not optimistic that even that approach will work, which will leave you with very few good options. But give it a try and report back on how it went.
    Jake

  5. #5
    Can't delete Time Machine Backups from Trash
    chscag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RJMang View Post
    I already figured that out. My question was not "HOW" to delete backups..but How to Empty my Trash given the situation.
    As Jake has already told you, you can't delete those backup files from the Trash because you do not have permissions. And, they likely can not be restored. You might try wiping (erasing) the Time Machine drive and then using one of several methods for force emptying the Trash. This method works.

  6. #6
    Can't delete Time Machine Backups from Trash
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    One caution: The terminal commands chscag pointed to in the link most likely will work (they should). But bear in mind that the command rm is very powerful and very unforgiving. SO by using the super user sudo to execute rm, you can wipe out just about anything (and everything). So, be very, very careful in using that technique, if you choose to do so. But if that rm gets executed incorrectly, you can erase the entire drive, including the boot drive, leaving you with nothing.

    EDIT: The point is to assure that you have a valid backup before trying that trick. And your current TM backup may not be valid at this point because of what you did with Finder. The links in the backup that threaded through those deleted backups are no longer valid, so the backup has lost integrity. I'd make (and test) a new one somewhere before I did anything in terminal.
    Jake

  7. #7
    Can't delete Time Machine Backups from Trash
    michelangelo's Avatar
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    How about trying to reformat the Seagate USB drive ?That would wipe off everything on that drive....

    Please, don't tell me you have used this drive for other things than as a time Machine Back-up drive, each backed-up drive enjoying its exclusive partition ?
    -- Michelangelo
    https://www.abeille-cyclotourisme.fr/
    MacBookPro, iMac, iPhone 5c, iPad mini, AirPort Time Capsule (1st Generation), AirPort extreme (3rd generation), Apple TV (1st generation)

  8. #8
    Can't delete Time Machine Backups from Trash
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    If you do what Michelangelo suggests, that SHOULD solve the problem, but you'll lose everything on the drive and will have to restart Time Machine all over again.
    Jake

  9. #9
    Can't delete Time Machine Backups from Trash
    pm-r's Avatar
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    I'm a bit late here, but just a thought, some OS versions have an option to "Put Back" or "Put Away" which could possibly be used maybe to put the Trash stuff back to where it came from and then do any removal the correct way??? Just thinking out loudů and a "maybe" type solution.

    But I think it's much too late for anything like that to actually work properly.





    - Patrick
    ======

  10. #10
    Can't delete Time Machine Backups from Trash
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    Patrick, that was suggested in post #4, but worth repeating. It's doubtful it will work because TM does things slightly differently, but the OP may get lucky and have it work.
    Jake

  11. #11
    Can't delete Time Machine Backups from Trash
    pm-r's Avatar
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    Patrick, that was suggested in post #4, but worth repeating.

    Thanks Jake, but I didn't see anything about the old "Put Back" or "Restore" command mentioned there, but I have a feeling it disappeared maybe after Snow Leopard and I can't recall if the command, option or control keys were needed to invoke it.

    Anyway, it's probably is too late and probably doesn't work any more with recent OSX versions.

    But I can't say I'd use what the OP did as a reason not to recommend to rely on only Time Machine for a "backup" which I do all the time, and man is your comment a big understatement — because TM does things slightly differently. Yup!!!




    - Patrick
    ======

  12. #12
    Can't delete Time Machine Backups from Trash
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    Patrick, it's there in HS, and it's called Put Back. You right click on the item in the trash and then pick Put Back. That's what I meant in post #4 by "restore the backups." Maybe I should have been more specific.
    But I can't say I'd use what the OP did as a reason not to recommend to rely on only Time Machine for a "backup" which I do all the time, and man is your comment a big understatement — because TM does things slightly differently. Yup!!!
    That's a bit confusing to me, but if you are saying that the issues from the OP are not sufficient to reject TM as the sole backup, I would agree. TM is better than no backup at all, but you do have to treat the backups carefully because of the way TM works. Deleting backups from Finder is definitely NOT a good idea!
    Jake

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