Can't delete files on a Mac, online suggestions fail

I recently got a Mac Book Pro and having been moving music and other files to it from a PC.

I now want to remove a couple of these files from the Mac, but when I try to move them to Trash I get a message saying that the files can’t be deleted (note that the files never actually get into the Trash folder). When I check file info, I am informed that the files are “read only”, and no boxes appear to allow me to change this to “read and write” so I can delete the files. I cannot delete the files through Terminal, and one or two other suggested fixes didn’t work.

It appears I need to change the permission on those files in some mysterious way. Is there a relatively simple means to do this with step by step instructions for the new Mac user? (Apple support forum users largely seem to utilize English as a third or fourth language and/or go off into incomprehensible tangents, but I’m hoping Dopers are both Mac-savvy and excellent communicators).

Before doing anything else, reboot your computer. Then…

  1. Try this:

open Terminal and begin by typing "sudo rm " at the command line

NOW drag the file itself into the Terminal window. Command should now read something like sudo rm /Users/Jackmannii/Desktop/

Hit enter

Supply admin-level password when requested

If THAT doesn’t work,

  1. In Terminal window, type "sudo chown jackmannii " at the command line (except use your real MacOS X account name where I’ve put jackmannii of course). THEN drag file into terminal window. If it asks for password again, supply it.

If it gives you an error message when you do that, copy the text from the Terminal window and paste it here. If it does NOT give an error, continue onwards: type "sudo chmod 777 " and drag file yet again into Terminal window and hit enter. If it asks for password, supply it. If no error up to this point, NOW type "rm -rf " at the command line and drag file yet again into Terminal window and hit return.

If no success, please do the following and post the results you get:
cd FolderFile_is_In and hit enter. for “FolderFile_is_In” put the actual path to the actual folder that the problematic file is indeed in. Example: if file is on Desktop,

cd /Users/Jackmannii/Desktop

now type “ls -al” at the command line and hit return. Copy the results from the Terminal window and paste them here, along with a comment letting us know which of the files in the folder is THE problematic file.

Note that it’s possible to create a file that can only be deleted by booting into single-user mode.

On a linux system ( with EXT4 file system, at least ) if there are errors on the file system the whole drive will go into read-only mode, forbidding deletion. After fsck repairing the drive the files can be deleted. It might be worth checking the drive with whatever Macs use in place of fsck or chkdsk.

OS X doesn’t do this.
Also, it runs fsck upon reboot, any time the file system journal is inconsistent.

Before AHunter3’s suggestion, you might want to try this:

  1. Select the file(s) in Finder.
  2. Press Command-I (or File/Get Info)
  3. If the Locked box is checked, un-check it.
  4. Under Sharing & Permissions, make sure you have Read & Write.

You may need to do this for the enclosing folder as well as the files it contains. You can select multiple files before hitting Command-I to do it in bulk.

Well, this is weird, or embarrassing, or both.

After trying A Hunter’s suggestions (unsuccessfully) I noticed that after dragging the file to the Terminal window, the file path in Terminal listed my external drive (which was still connected). I didn’t think the offending file was just located on the external drive (since it was listed under “Favorites” in Finder, and not under “Devices”). But I decided to see what would happen if I disconnected the external drive, and

lo and behold

Goodbye file!

Thanks to all for helping out. I am printing and saving the suggestions made here which hopefully I will never need again.

I’'ll get the hang of this Mac thing yet. :slight_smile:

Glad you got it sorted out

I hope you ejected the drive before disconnecting it, by dragging it to the trash or right-clicking it and going to Eject.