I was going to delete the Time Machine backups. I made a mistake and instead of deleting them using Time Machine, I just moved the Backups.backupdb folder to the trash. Now, if I try to empty the trash, Finder attempts to count the number of files that will be deleted, and this process is incredibly time-consuming, because the Finder tries to count each file in each backup. The same thing happens if I try to move the Backups.backupdb folder from the trash back on my hard drive where it was before.
What can I do in this situation? How can I delete the backups?
To remove or move the Backups.backupdb folder open Terminal.app.
Enter cd /Volumes/<Name_of_BackupDrive>/.Trashes to change the working directory. <Name_of_BackupDrive> has to be the volume name of your TM backup volume.
Enter sudo ls -laO to show all folders. Usually you should see only one folder with the name 501 now:
d-wx-wx-wt@ 3 root wheel hidden 102 Jun 25 20:52 .
drwxrwxr-x 9 root admin - 374 Jun 26 01:21 ..
drwx------@ 2 user staff hidden 68 Jun 26 01:21 501
Enter sudo su to get super user rights.
Enter cd 501 (Replace 501 with whatever the name of the directory is) to change the working directory and list the content of the folder 501 with ls -laO. Now you should see the folder Backups.backupdb:
drwx------@ 3 user staff hidden 102 Jun 26 01:21 .
d-wx-wx-wt@ 3 root wheel hidden 102 Jun 25 20:52 ..
drwxr-xr-x 2 user admin - 68 Jun 26 01:19 Backups.backupdb
Now you may either move the folder back to the root of the backup drive with:
If you are asked to override something (e.g. override rw-r--r-- root/wheel uchg for Backups.backupdb/.RecoverySets/0/com.apple.recovery.boot/boot.efi?) enter yes and hit the return button. You may also add the -f option to skip confirmations.
To delete a 30 GB backup in a virtual machine it took about 3 minutes. So depending on the size of Backups.backupdb some patience is needed.
You can also try to delete the trash with help of the free program Onyx: http://www.titanium.free.fr/onyx.html You open the program and gå to "clean", then to "Trash" and then click on "delete". The program will delete the content in the Trash for all connected volumes (for example Time Machine).