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  1. #1
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    Issue Removing "In Use" Mac Files

    My iMac Pro recently did something insanely strange. For some reason, instead of backing up to my Drobo NAS with Time Machine, Time Machine created a full backup (200+GB) on my iMac Pro itself in a folder under /Volumes known as "Time Machine Backups".

    This is not the same as the local snapshots as seen here:

    https://www.macworld.com/article/326...-your-mac.html

    I checked, and my iMac Pro does not have any local snapshots at the moment. Somehow my iMac Pro created a full backup of itself to itself over Time Machine.

    I managed to remove most of the files from my iMac Pro. However, a handful of files will still not remove, giving me an "In Use" error message when I try to remove them.

    I've rebooted my iMac Pro and tried them (no luck), tried Safe Mode (no luck), and even moved them to the root account on my iMac Pro (no luck). I even created a test user account, moved the files in there, and attempted to remove the user account, which left the user account folder with those handful of folders in there.

    I've tried all the standard UNIX commands rm, rm -R, rmdir, etc. No luck.

    Right now they're sitting in the trash of the root account.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how I could nuke these files? I'm thinking either install macOS on an external drive, boot from it, enable root access on it, then mount my internal drive to remove the files, or boot the iMac Pro in Target Disk Mode connected to another Mac, go into the root account on the other Mac, mount the drive of the iMac Pro from Target Disk Mode on the other Mac, and remove the files there. I'm thinking the files simply won't delete as long as the Mac has booted up.

    Anyone have any other suggestions or think one of my suggestions would work?

    This one has me and even Apple's engineers stumped.

    Thanks!
    Nathan Parker

    Visit my blog at http://weathertogether.net

  2. #2
    WS Lounge VIP Lugh's Avatar
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    I know nothing about Mac Nathan, so probably useless thoughts:

    1. Could these files have a 'system' or similar attribute set, which protects them?
    1a. Since it's mainly Unix, does the "chmod" command work? If yes, change them & their folder to 777—rmdir & rm might work then.
    1b. If there are permissions for files, make sure you are allowed to manipulate those files—ie not locked out.

    2. Can you create a small new partition on your HD, move the files there, then delete the partition?
    Lugh.
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  3. The Following User Says Thank You to Lugh For This Useful Post:

    Nathan Parker (2018-05-15)

  4. #3
    3 Star Lounger
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    Thanks for your assistance! Here's answers to your questions:

    1. It's possible though, although it's a backup, so the files aren't being used by the system.
    2. chmod did allow me to change the permissions of the folders to 777, but some files in there are still showing "unknown" permissions and won't let me change them. I may try Repair Disk using Recovery Drive to see if there's something I can do to fix overall permissions.
    1b. Theey're blank files so nothing I can manipulate.

    2. It's not letting me move them anywhere except on the internal drive.

    This issue is getting crazier by the day.
    Nathan Parker

    Visit my blog at http://weathertogether.net

  5. #4
    3 Star Lounger
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    On this, I'm going to pick up a flash drive, install macOS on it, boot from the flash drive, go into the Root account, and see if I can remove the files. If that doesn't work, I'll try Target Disk Mode.
    Nathan Parker

    Visit my blog at http://weathertogether.net

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