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10.3: Use Secure Empty Trash to reclaim hard disk space
Authored by: the1truestripes on Dec 16, '03 09:34:17AM
I wonder what the heck is going on. Seems like I should be able to kill a 3 day old swap file.

Depends, have you been running a program for three days? If so it may have "stuff" in there. Even if you havn't it might still be in use. The swap file may have been created three days ago when you were running Word, and then you started Excel two days ago and is put some more stuff in there, then you quit Word, and yesterday you started TextEdit and it used the same swap file, and then you quit Excel, but your three day old swap file still has parts in use by the TextEdit you just started recently...

If it is like any other Unix system I have used though the free space in the swap file will get used for other stuff that needs to swap. Also removing the files won't normally do any harm (a secure delete of them might, but a normal rm or drag to trash and "empty trash" won't) because as others have said Unix doesn't actually delete stuff until the last "reference" to it goes away (it will delete the name from the filesystem, but the contents live on until no process has the file open...and there is some interaction with hard links you probbably don't want to know about).

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