Mac OSX - Secure Empty Trash

With the introduction of OSX El Capitan, the ability to securely empty the trash must be done within Terminal. NOTE: ALL ITEMS DELETED IN THIS WAY ARE IRREVERSIBLE.

Access the Terminal (OSX version of command prompt) by:

  1. Using Spotlight search (command+Space bar) and type in "Terminal"
  2. Navigate to your Applications Folder --> Utilities--> Terminal

To perform a "Secure Empty Trash" command

  1. Type in: cd ~/.trash into the command line prompt and press "enter". The line basically means 'take me to the hidden trash directory'
  2. Type in: lsand press "enter" This step is not entirely necessary but recommended. This command stands for 'list' and it will list all files within the trash directory. This is recommended so that you may be sure these are the files you wish to remove as you can not get them back.
  3. Type in: srm -rv ~/.trash and press "enter".This line tells your computer to securely remove the items in the folder specified.
  4. You may be prompted by the operating system asking if you are sure you would like to remove these files. NOTE: This is irreversible. Type 'y' for yes.

To perform a "Secure Empty Trash" command for OS X El Captian (10.11.+)

  1. Type in srm -v (for one file) or srm -rv (for an entire directory).
  2. Drag and drop the file (or folder if using srm -rv) into the Terminal window. This will put the files or folder path into the command line.
  3. Hit the RETURN key to permanently delete the file or folder path. NOTE: This is irreversible.

Keywords:mac osx el capitan secure empty trash   Doc ID:62015
Owner:Help Desk K.Group:UW-Milwaukee Help Desk
Created:2016-03-17 11:57 CDTUpdated:2023-06-06 15:14 CDT
Sites:UW-Milwaukee Help Desk
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