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Cannot empty Trash from exFAT/FAT external drive on macOS Ventura

I have been using an EXFAT 1TB external SSD without any problem between my Mac and Windows but I can't empty the Trash after upgrading to macOS Ventura. When I try to empty the Trash, I receive an error that reads "The operating can't be completed because the item xx is in use." If I force delete them in Finder, I get another error, "The operation can't be completed because some items had to be skipped. For each item, choose File > Get Info, make sure "Locked" is deselected, and then check the Sharing & Permissions section. When you are sure the items are unlocked and not designated as Read Only or No Access, try again." Any help would be appreciated.

Best Answered by

iBoysoft author Jenny Zeng

Jenny Zeng

Answered on Monday, February 19, 2024

The message "The operating can't be completed because the item xx is in use" indicates that this specific file in your Trash can is currently in use. You can close apps that may be using the file, then retry emptying the Trash.

Besides, some files may be locked or have permission issues, preventing you from emptying them from the Trash on Mac. Try the following steps to unlock these files and ensure that you have Read & Write access to it.

  1. Open your Trash can.
  2. Right-click on a file and select "Get Info."
  3. Deselect the box next to "Locked."
  4. Under "Sharing & Permission," make sure your account has Read & Write privileges.
  5. Repeat the steps for other files in the Trash.
  6. Empty the Trash.

If you still can't empty the trash of your exFAT external drive on macOS Ventura or earlier, try to do it with Terminal by running the following command.

rm -rf file_path

Type rm -rf in Terminal, leave a space, then drag and drop the files in your Trash can to Terminal. After hitting the Enter key, the files you drop to Terminal will be deleted.

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Mac Trash Won't Empty? Why & How to Force Empty Trash

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