How to Delete Files and Folders on a Mac

Audio Transcript

If you've got a lot of files and folders on your Mac, you want to clean up every once in a while to stay organized and make it easier to find specific items.

  • First, locate any files or folders that you want to delete. You just click to highlight file and drag it into the handy trash can at the dock at the bottom of the screen. If you change your mind or make a mistake, you can type Command + Z at the same time to undo the last action. Select the file you'd like to get rid of and to drag it down into the trash.

  • Now before you empty all the items in the trash permanently, it's always smart to take a look at the contents of the trash bin and make sure you didn't accidentally toss in something important. Just double click on the trash icon at the dock to open the finder window that shows the contents. If there's something in there that you don't want to delete, you can click on it and drag it back to a safe location. Otherwise, to empty the trash, press the Command + shift + delete at the same time or you can go up to the finder option, in the top navigation and select empty trash.

  • Now you can only empty the trash when the focus in on the finder. If you're at another application and you try to use command + shift + delete, it won't work. You'll get quick confirmation warning to keep you from doing something. Maybe your cat walked across the keyboard and hit Command + shift + delete. If you're sure it's safe to get rid of the files for good, click ok and everything in the trash will be permanently deleted.

  • If you don't want to confirm “yes” every single time you delete files from the trash, just go back to the finder menu and select preferences. Then in the preferences window, choose advanced and uncheck the box to show warning before emptying the trash. Now you won't get that prompt any more when you empty the trash bin.

And that's how you take out the trash in Mac OS X Leopard. If only cleaning your house were this easy.

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