I had an old user account on this machine that I no longer needed and was taking up a lot of space. I removed it by going to System Preferences > Users & Groups and deleting the user. It took a while, but it seemed to work and the user disappeared from the list.

However, I didn't seem to reclaim any disk space, which I thought was odd. So I checked and the deleted user's folder was still present in /Users.

Since the user was no longer listed in Users & Groups, I tried just manually deleting the user folder from the Finder and then emptying the trash. This worked up until it hit file 103,556, at which point it seemed to get stuck. I let it run overnight for 8+ hours and when I came back to it this morning, it was still sitting at 103,556.

I couldn't cancel the delete operation or anything, so I force-restarted the computer and tried emptying the trash again. Again, it counted up to the same file and then stopped.

Is there any way I can force-empty the trash to get rid of this user account?

2 Answers 2


You could try deleting it from the command line (Terminal).

sudo rm -rf ~/.Trash/

Be careful with this one though. This can't be undone if you punch that in wrong.


If someone runs into the same problem you need to disable Syestem Integrity Protection before deleting old user folders. SIP was introduced with Mac OS X El Capitan 10.11 in 2015.

  • To turn off SIP, one need to start into Recovery Mode.
  • Turn off the device, press and hold command + R, start the device, and wait until load screen.
  • In Recovery Mode, click Utilities and start the Terminal application.

Check the status rather SIP en- or disable:

csrutil status

To disable it:

csrutil disable

and to enable

csrutil enable.

Restart the device for changes to take effect. Start your system as always (not into Recovery Mode).

It is recommended to enable SIP after you deleted the user folder.

  • 1
    Thank you for your answer. :) Unfortunately, short answers such as this don't really provide enough detail or context to help many users. If possible, it'd be good if you could add some more info on how to disable SIP and which versions of macOS this is likely to be need for. Also, you may want to read How to Answer for tips on providing answers here.
    – Monomeeth
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 21:46
  • 1
    sorry.. did so.
    – needlol
    Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 8:50

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