Empty Trash issues in Snow Leopard

I recently had many issues with Mac OS X 10.6’s Trash. The problem is that, when you Empty the Trash in Snow Leopard, Finder sometimes can’t erase all items because some of them are still in use. The funny part about this is, that most of the time, it’s the Finder itself that still uses the items! I haven’t found a solution so far, but there are at least two workarounds which don’t require logging out or even rebooting.

The first one is to force a relaunch of Finder via Apple -> Force Quit and then try it again.

If that doesn’t help it gets more complicated. You will need to open Terminal.app or any other terminal emulator.

Then type ps auxw | grep . The output will look something like:

$ ps auxw | grep Scan.pdf
Finder     169 chrisk   13r     REG       14,2       286 1417024 /Users/chrisk/.Trash/Scan.pdf/..namedfork/rsrc

This might look complicated, but it’s actually simple. The first column is the name of the application, which uses your file, the second column is the PID (process ID) of the application, third column shows the username and the last column simply shows the path to your file in the Trash folder.

Now use ‘kill’ and the applications PID to terminate it.

$ kill 169

You should be able to empty your trash again.