Take Out the Trash with Trash It!

I generally find Mac OS X very pleasant to use in my day to day computing. It stays out of my way, allowing me to focus on the task at hand. It’s a really good operating system. But, is everything perfect?

No. Of course not.

No operating system is.

One of my biggest gripes in my day to day use of Mac OS X (most notably Snow Leopard) is when a trashed file refuses to empty from the Trash Can. As a neat freak, I like to keep my Desktop and folder structure pruned and spotless. I always try to delete temporary files on the Desktop (like screenshots or images saved to the desktop) after I’ve finished using them. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

Let’s take a specific scenario:

  1. Using Command-Shift-3, I capture a screenshot, which is then saved to the Desktop.
  2. I compose a new mail message in Apple Mail and include the screenshot as an attachment. I then send the e-mail off to its recipient.
  3. Now I try to take the screenshot that’s on the Desktop, drag it to the Trash Can and proceed to empty it.

it’s at this point that I receive a dialog box which says that the file is in use and the Trash Can is unable to empty. The work-around solution for me has been:

  1. Close Apple Mail.
  2. Empty Trash.
  3. Curse Apple for impairing my productivity.

Apparently, I’m not alone in encountering this problem. It turns out there’s actually a utility that will force the Trash Can to empty, by the name of Trash It!, from NoName Scriptware. Trash It! is donation-ware, and does exactly what it says it does.

TrashIt ScreenShot

When you launch Trash It!, you’re presented with a dialog box that has two options. “Just Delete” will do exactly that. “Secure Delete” will delete the files to where you can’t retrieve it (When it’s gone, it’s gone.) You’ll have to enter your administrator password to confirm what you are about to do. And that’s it!

There’s really not much to review in this software. It works well, and – as I mentioned eariler, is donationware (you pay what you think the software is worth, if you find it to be useful.)

What would really be great is if Apple would address the problem in their OS – but in the meantime, if you’re looking for a quick, friendly method of Force Emptying the Trash Can, you can’t go wrong with Trash It!.


These beautiful and intelligent people wrote

  • John K.
    March 17, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    My time machine files wouldn’t delete and Apple Tech support recommended this app! It really is a marvel.