Manage grayed-out 'Move to Trash' option in OS X

The OS X Finder allows you to access and organize files and folders on your hard drive, with one common function being to move items to the trash. While you can drag items to the trash, an additional feature is to make a selection and then press the hotkey Command-delete, or choose "Move to Trash" from the File menu, which will place the selected items in your account's trash in preparation for deletion.

While this feature should work for files and folders in your account, sometimes it is not available for a selection, and the command in … Read more

Social garbage bin tells you to pick up the trash

"Hey, pick up your trash!" No, that wasn't me talking. It was that little robotic trash can. It knows when there's garbage in the vicinity and asks humans to pick the refuse up.

The wheeled Social Trash Box, or STB, robot out of Japan's Toyohashi University of Technology comes equipped with a microprocessor, a video camera, and a speaker for making its desires for cleanliness heard. Motors enable it to twist right and left and bend backward and forward. A pyroelectric infrared sensor lets it detect people's body heat and move toward them, while a distance sensor helps it maneuver around them (and other obstacles). … Read more

Secure your deleted files in OS X

When you delete files in OS X, by default the system will simply remove the file's entry from the drive's index, which simply allocates the space used by the file as free for other uses. However, while this logically deletes the file, on conventional hard drives the data structure of the file is still intact and with special data recovery software can be read through and potentially recovered.

This means that if you store an important document on an external hard drive and then decide to delete the file, its contents will still be on the drive and … Read more

Force empty that stubborn trash bin in OS X

There are several reasons why the trash bin in OS X will not empty, or will not otherwise work as expected. Often this occurs because of access permission faults with the hidden trash folder that OS X uses as an intermediary for storing trashed files before they are finally deletes, but at other times it occurs from built-in restrictions like having locked files in the trash.

If you decide to empty the trash in OS X, and end up getting an error or otherwise not seeing the contents delete, first try holding the Option key when emptying, which will invoke … Read more

Step can steps up with trash compactor

Kitchen gadgets are usually handy helpers geared toward the preparation of food. But as we all know, there is a darker, murkier side of the kitchen: the trash. An endless procession of trash bags march through our everyday lives: from the box to the can to the bin outside, eventually disappearing off into the sunset (and the landfill). With all this activity, it seems a ripe place to dig a little deeper to find some gadgetry.

The TK10 Trash Krusher ($159.95) is a step can that takes things a step further by employing a simple compacting lid. Make no … Read more

How to bring back the trash button in Gmail for Android

The new Gmail has undergone a huge refresh. The Web version now has a tabbed inbox to support categories and the mobile apps have an updated interface as well. If you've updated to the new Android app, you may have noticed that there's no longer a trash button in the toolbar when viewing a message. The new toolbar only has buttons for archive, mark, and move. If you flip the screen orientation to landscape, you'll also see an additional button for labels.

If you prefer to delete certain messages, rather than archiving everything, you can still use … Read more

Review: TrashTimer automatically removes trashed items after designated time

TrashTimer for Mac adds to your privacy by automatically removing deleted content from the trash after a set period of time. This application offers a great amount of control over how and when the trash is deleted.

With just a double-click on the DMG file, you will have this app installed and running in no time. A readme file, which comes with the installation file, clearly explains the installation process. Rather than an icon in the dock or top bar, TrashTimer for Mac will appear as a preference panel in your Mac's System Preferences. The user interface is quite … Read more

Review: Empty that can with Trash It! for Mac

When emptying a Mac's trash can, some items may be locked, which prevents removal. Trash It! for Mac is a basic program that forces the trash can to completely empty, but has no additional features and is not a useful program.

Trash It! for Mac is available as a free application. The program downloaded quickly, but there was no installer for the program. Instead of having one program that worked with all Mac OS X versions, the download included two separate folders, one for version 10.8 and one for earlier versions. There were no technical support or user … Read more

Q&A: MacFixIt Answers

MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which I answer Mac-related questions e-mailed in by our readers.

This week, readers wrote in asking about the potential drawbacks from using Little Snitch to block updates from XProtect, the media browser not properly handling Aperture libraries, the OS X Trash hanging when instructed to empty, and a problem with incoming network connection requests flashing too fast to make changes.

I welcome contributions from readers, so if you have any suggestions or alternative approaches to these problems, please post them in the comments!

Question: Potential drawbacks from blocking XProtect updates MacFixIt reader Paul asks:… Read more

Review: Skip the trashbin using Delete without Trash for Mac

With a name that completely and accurately describes its sole function, Delete without Trash for Mac allows users to bypass the trashing step, but adds another that seems to defeat its time-saving purpose.

Delete without Trash for Mac downloads quickly. The installation folder also contains a readme file with instructions. The program, itself, is easy to use. There is no interface, but it makes changes to the computer so that the user has additional options when right clicking files. This includes a "Delete as Administrator" function, which directly removes the file after the entry of the administrator password. … Read more