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I deleted a HUGE load of backup from an external HD (about 5 million files). Since then, the folder is "stuck" in Trash, never deleted.

Once I go to Terminal and do:

rm -rf ~/.Trash

It deletes everything but the deleted backup folder.

In fact, I can't even SEE the file in Terminal.

What do I do?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Was the backup folder a Timemachine folder? Those folders are weird.

If you deleted it from an external HD it will be in the trash can of the external hd. It should vanish from the trash can when you remove the external disk.

I think you might have to reformat the external disk to get rid of a Timemachine folder, whether in trash or otherwise.

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daaaaaaaaamn :) – Konzepz Sep 22 '09 at 10:22
Nice spot! – Xetius Sep 22 '09 at 10:57

When you press on Empty Trash, try pressing the Option key as well. Maybe that will help. You can read more about it in this Apple Support document; there's a lot of information in the document, including dealing with locked files.

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Take a look at your external drive, via the terminal:

Last login: Tue Sep 22 07:42:31 on console
cd dhcp105-37:~ Ben$ cd /Volumes/External_Drive 
dhcp105-37:External_Drive Ben$ ls -la
total 954440
drwxrwxr-x@   29 Ben   staff       1054 Aug 18 15:43 .
drwxrwxrwt@    6 root  admin        204 Sep 22 07:43 ..
-r--------     1 root  staff         16 Aug  5  2008 .001ff3584d0c
-rw-rw-r--@    1 Ben   staff      21508 Sep 16 14:56 .DS_Store
drwx------     3 Ben   staff        102 Aug  5  2008 .Spotlight-V100
drwxrwxrwt@    3 Ben   staff        102 Oct  1  2008 .TemporaryItems
d-wx-wx-wt     3 Ben   staff        102 Sep 11 13:39 .Trashes
-rw-r--r--@    1 Ben   staff     227377 Apr  9 15:36 .VolumeIcon.icns
-rw-r--r--     1 Ben   staff          0 Aug  5  2008
drwx------    88 Ben   staff       2992 Sep 22 07:49 .fseventsd

Please note the .Trashes that exists on the external drive. Take a look at your external and see if the folder is in there. If so, then a rf command from that folder should work.

Time Machine backup folders are indeed different, but my understanding is that they can be deleted like any other folder/file. The issue is that since Time Machine backups are hard linked files, that when you delete it from one backup set, you maybe deleting from multiple sets at the same time.

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