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The operation can't be completed because backup items can't be modified

I can't delete any files off my Seagate Backup Plus Drive. It always fails with the error, "The operation can't be completed because backup items can't be modified." I check on the "Get info" for this hard drive and under "Sharing & Permissions" there are three "Names" listed: "USER (Me)" (with "Privilege" of "Read & Write"), "staff" (with "Privilege" of "Read & Write") and "everyone" (with "Privilege" of "Read only"). With that said, I should be able to erase files on this hard drive, but it's not allowing me to do it? How can I get this to work? Thx in advance!

Best Answered by

iBoysoft author Jenny Zeng

Jenny Zeng

Answered on Monday, July 10, 2023

The error "The operation can't be completed because backup items can't be modified" seems to occur when deleting files from an external drive on Mac, regardless of whether it is a Time Machine backup disk or not.

You can try the following tips to fix it.

Solution 1: Relaunch Finder

If the issue is caused by a temporary bug, restarting Finder should fix it. To do it, open Terminal and run the command below.

killall Finder

Solution 2: Force delete unwanted files in Terminal

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

rm -f /path/to/file

In Terminal, type rm -f, leave a space, then drag and drop the file you want to delete into the Terminal window and hit the Enter key.

Solution 3: Delete Time Machine backups in Time Machine

If you're trying to delete files from a Time Machine backup disk, do it from Time Machine instead of Finder.

  1. Keep your Time Machine backup disk connected.
  2. Open Time Machine.
  3. Locate the backup you want to remove, select it and click the gear.
  4. Select "Delete Backup."

Read Also:

How to Delete Old Time Machine Backups & Snapshots

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