How do I force the Trash to empty on El Capitan?
Logging out of your user is a good first step to make sure it's not simply a user file still open.
Restarting will clear the open file lock in almost all situations. If you still can't empty trash, you'll want to look at the files in the trash or repair the catalog/filesystem if that's the root cause of some file not closing when moved into the trash areas.
I have the same frustrating problem and tried numerous methods that I could find from the web. However, nothing seemed to work until I did -
sudo rm -rf ~/.Trash /Volumes/*/.Trashes
It really did the magic and the stubborn files (old time machine backups from an external hard disk) were finally deleted from Trash. It still took some time, but it did the magic at least. Thanks for the answer.
I had the problem of a file that got in to the trash would not be emptied. Delete Immediately also didn't work on it. Restarting the Mac did not resolve the problem.
I tried restarting in Safe Mode. The trash was empty.
Turns out the files that wouldn't empty were on an external FAT32 drive with some corruption. This drive wouldn't appear on Safe Mode and so the trash appears empty.
I don't have a PC to connect to and see if Windows can empty the trash. So I'll probably move the good contents from the FAT32 partition and format it.
I experienced this frustrating problem. Persistent folders & files that would not empty from Trash. The folders/files were protected somehow and when I tried to change read/write permissions, I got a message saying I didn't have the "necessary permission." I didn't want to do anything as radical as a fresh install.
Finally I came across this guide to disabling SIP: http://osxdaily.com/2015/10/05/disable-rootless-system-integrity-protection-mac-os-x/
I disabled SIP, emptied my Trash in the usual, normal way (it worked), and then re-enabled SIP.
protected by Community♦ Mar 15 '16 at 22:00
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