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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

A few days ago I was having some troubles with my Time Machine external drive, so I decided to reassign to a temporary hard drive until I bought a new one. Once I bought my new drive and reassigned again, I wanted to clear the TM back up off my temp drive so I could resume using it for other things.

Problem is, after having dragged the TM backup to the trash, I now can't empty it. Every 2 seconds I get an error saying "The operation can't be completed because the item 'item' is in use."

Even after restarting, these items are still in use, even though Time Machine is technically writing to an all new drive. And I can't use Activity Monitor to quit TM for some reason—it doesn't let me.

I'd really like to avoid formatting that temp drive, as I have other things on it and it would save me a bit of headache having to move other things off it in order to format it and then move them back.

Any ideas on how to get this darn trash to empty?

Thanks!
 

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It seems like you may not have disabled the Time Machine link to the old HD. In SnowLeopard it has its own control panel, ditto El Capitan.

Turn it off completely until you have succeeded in erasing the old HD. This may require a reboot after switching it off.
 

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Have you opened Time Machine in System Preferences, clicked "Select Disk", click once on the old TM drive, and clicked "Remove Disk"?

That might be enough to "release" it.

Also not a bad idea for Disk First Aid to check it out....
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
eMacMan, I did what you suggested. There isn't an "off" switch per se, but I did uncheck the "Back Up Automatically" button, and then restarted. The issue persists.

CubaMark, there is no old TM drive to "remove." Since this is a few week-old issue, there's a chance I "removed" it a while back, but I don't remember. At this point, there's just one disk (the correct one) in the list.

Any other ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I also tried restarting in safe mode and emptying. Didn't work.

One of the errors I'm getting is "cannot be deleted because of System Integrity Protection. I Googled how to temporarily turn it off, and I'm apprehensive about doing so. It involves Terminal in Recovery Mode, and that scares me a little as a non-expert. I don't want to follow some random website's advice and screw up my machine!

Any thoughts on this? Would turning SIP off even solve my problem?
 

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Don't be afraid of disabling SIP. Think of it this way... turning it off is like reverting to the way it's always been before Apple introduced SIP. I've had it turned off for many months.
You can easily turn it back on after you resolve your issue.

How to modify System Integrity Protection in El Capitan | Macworld


I also tried restarting in safe mode and emptying. Didn't work.

One of the errors I'm getting is "cannot be deleted because of System Integrity Protection. I Googled how to temporarily turn it off, and I'm apprehensive about doing so. It involves Terminal in Recovery Mode, and that scares me a little as a non-expert. I don't want to follow some random website's advice and screw up my machine!

Any thoughts on this? Would turning SIP off even solve my problem?
 

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:clap:

:)
 

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For future reference, you don't manually delete any TM backups - that's why you can't empty the trash. That's why the poster above suggested a method unsupported to circumvent the system. Want to remove TM backups? Erase the TM drive. This is also why you never share a TM backup drive with any other data.
 

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Seems prudent enough not to share TM backups and regular data on the same drive.

But what if they are on different partitions of the same drive? Should be manageable, no?
 

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Seems prudent enough not to share TM backups and regular data on the same drive.

But what if they are on different partitions of the same drive? Should be manageable, no?
That's fine - you can erase individual partitions on the same drive without affecting other partitions.
 
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