I bought an external Samsung hard drive today. But I'm not able to do anything with it. Here are the problems I'm having:

  • I can't put anything on the hard drive. Finder gets stuck at 'preparing copying files'
  • I can delete anything on the hard drive system files, except the folder ".Trashes". It gives error 'Unexpected error: -50'
  • I tried to empty the trash can, but nothing changes.
  • I set the file permission on the .Trashes to read/write everyone, doesn't change a thing
  • Trying to format the whole drive with Disk Utility, but quits at start, because the drive cannot be deactivated.

I've tried a few terminal commands

sudo -s -r rf /Volumes/Untitled\ 1/.Trashes` //Directory not empty  
-r rf /Volumes/Untitled\ 1/.Trashes` //No permissions


cd /Volumes ls -al cd name_of_partition ls -al
rm -rf .Trashes

Again: Permission error.


  • I can't change drive permissions via Disk Utility, via the button 'recover drive permissions', because it is 'blank'

One thing that really bothers me: I really want to format the partition, but every time it says 'Disk cannot be deactivated', when trying to recover, wipe or format.

I really can't figure out how to delete .Trashes, format the drive or get the damn thing working.

Any suggestions?

  • 1
    I don't know the exact steps, but maybe you do or someone else does. If you use a bootable OS X installer, there is a menu option to open Disk Utility. At that point, the drive should be fully configurable. When you write "deactivated", I assume you mean unmounted. Hope this helps.
    – bneely
    Commented Dec 15, 2012 at 5:31

1 Answer 1


I had the same problem today. After trying everything sudo I could do under the sun, manually trying to remove the .Trashes file through finder, etc I wound up just reformatting the drive.

The reformat took significantly less time than me trying to figure out how to get the drive empty. Probably better for the drive, anyway.

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