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Can't delete folders off external HDD on Mac?

I have meant to delete a folder for ages, but I just can't delete it. Whenever I try to delete the files from my external hard disk drive, it gives the the 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." I've changed the permissions and made sure it's not locked, but the folder still can't be deleted. Please help!

Best Answered by

iBoysoft author Jenny Zeng

Jenny Zeng

Answered on Monday, July 10, 2023

The error "The operation can't be completed because some items had to be skipped" indicates that the folder you're trying to delete is not allowed to be deleted by you due to permission issues.

If you have made sure your account has Read & Write access to the folder and it is not locked, try the following solutions to delete the folder:

Fix 1: Apply the permission settings to all items on the folder

  1. Right-click the folder and select "Get Info."
  2. Tap the yellow lock and enter your admin password.
  3. Ensure the current account has Read & Write Privileges.
  4. Click the Action pop-up menu and select "Apply to enclosed items."

Fix 2: Ignore ownership on this volume

Check the bottom of the "Get Info" window to see if it has an option for "Ignore ownership on this volume." If it does, tick the box next to it.

Fix 3: Delete the folder in Terminal

You can force delete the folder by running the following command in Terminal.

rm -rf /path/to/folder

To do it, first open the Terminal app on your Mac, then type rm -rf followed by a space, then drag and drop the folder to the Terminal window and hit the Enter key.

Fix 4: Format your external hard drive

If you still can't delete the folder, you can format your external hard drive to erase everything on it. Make sure you back up the important files to another storage device before doing it.

Read Also:

How to Format an External Hard Drive on Mac?

How to Change Permissions & Fix Permissions Denied on Mac

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