I’d like to direct your attention to the Terminating Locked Files thread that appears in Macworld’s Mac 911 forum as an example of the power of a group of sharp minds to untangle a knotty problem. It starts out simply enough—user Digitalart couldn’t trash a file using a Terminal command I offered in my Mac 911 column:
sudo rm -R thefile
where thefile is the path to the file that results when you enter sudo rm - R, press the Space Bar, and then drag the file into the Terminal window.
In the 104 posts that spin out of this seemingly simple exchange you’ll learn more than you thought possible about Terminal switches, permissions, utilities for deleting stubborn files, and, finally, doing things the old-fashioned way by booting an external drive into OS 9 and ripping stubborn files out by their roots.
Some of the posts are highly technical, but even those largely unfamiliar with Terminal should be impressed by the lengths to which our forum crew will go to unravel such a perplexing puzzle.
Got a problem of your own? This thread should hint that if a solution can’t be found in our forums, that solution doesn’t exist.