On an external FAT32 hard drive there is a file in the Bin (.Trashes) which I cannot delete. Even when I try to delete it on the command line using

rm offending_file

I get an error

rm: offending_file: No such file or directory

I also just ran the "First Aid" from the "Disk Utility" but that tool did not find any issues.

So what else can I do to remove/fix that file?

Also, when I try to remove the folder containing that file with

rm -rf folder

I get the error

rm: folder/: Permission denied

even when I run the command with sudo rights.

ls -l of the containing folder shows

-rwx------  1 alex  staff  67755741 Oct 18 04:51 offending_file

When opening the "Bin" on MacOS I only see an empty folder I cannot delete immediately as an error pops up saying the item "is in use", which, of course, is not the case.


1 Answer 1


Solution: Plug in the disk in a computer with proper OS (e.g. Windows) and simply delete the file!

  • Why the downvote? The answer did in fact work!
    – Alex
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 13:33
  • 3
    Using a computer where FAT32 is a native disk format is actually a good idea, but implying that macOS isn't a proper OS won't help to make friends here.
    – nohillside
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 14:35
  • @nohillside If an OS is not able to delete a single file, what will you call that?
    – Alex
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 15:21
  • 3
    Without proper analysis of the cause, that's hard to say. Maybe just restarting the drive fixed whatever issue you have been seeing first, or the FAT32 driver in macOS has a bug, or the FAT32 driver in Windows has a bug which makes it ignore the error, or ...
    – nohillside
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 15:50
  • Of course I did restart everything. And this is not the only issue I have with MacOS. Also, I was VERY nice ...
    – Alex
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 15:55

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