Mac OS X Tutorial - How To Fix "The operation can’t be completed because the item “***” is in use." error

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By Ben Radler

Ever gotten this pestering error when trying to throw something away in Mac OS X? I even see this behavior persistent in OS X 10.9 Mavericks, the newest release. I believe it has something to do with Finder's quicklook function. While relaunching the Finder is always a solution, I wanted to present this terminal based solution as a faster alternative.

So, see this error? rmrf-tutorial

All you've gotta do is open up (click Spotlight menu at the top right of your screen and type in terminal: sudo rm -rf /Path/to/the/thing.

Be warned that this will delete everything in the directory you specify, so make sure you really want to delete it!


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Ben Radler

Ben is a Software Engineer. He works on autonomous vehicle dispatch at Cruise.

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