Delete files without emptying the Trash

Jul 17, '13 07:30:00AM

Contributed by: LexFriedman

Long ago, we detailed a (rather scary) way to delete files without needing a stop in the trash can. A recent thread on StackExchange brought the issue up again, and some folks there provided other, less scary approaches.

Why would you want to delete a file without needing to choose Empty Trash? Here’s one example: You have some files in the Trash on your Mac that you’re not ready to pull the trigger on forever. Now you connect a USB drive and have files on it that you wish to dispose of. If you drag those files to the Trash, you have to select Empty Trash to do it—which means deleting the files from both the drive and your Mac itself.

Most Hints readers know about the rm Terminal command, which lets you remove files instantly and without a trip to the Trash. But that’s always the most convenient approach. One tip at StackExchange suggests wrapping that Terminal command in an Automator action, which you could then store in the Dock or add as an OS X Service for easy access from the Services menu. You can see the Automator action at StackExchange.

There are also third-party apps like Trash X and Trash Without that help you accomplish the same goal.

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