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This document describes a method to quickly empty a drive and make it usable for new projects. This process should only be used in unique situations with drives that can be erased and have no important files on them.


If you are on an Apple computer, using an external drive for occasionally copying files, you probably erase the files from the drive once they are copied.

At some point, even with all the files from the drive erased, the trash storage for the drive accumulates old deleted items. These take up room on the drive.

If you’ve deleted a large collection of many files from the drive, emptying the trash can take a long time. If you hold the Option key when selecting Empty Trash, this will invoke a Force Empty request which sometimes is quicker.

However, even with the Force Empty option, it can take time to empty the trash.

If the drive in question is exclusively used as a temporary storage drive for items being copied from one computer to another, then you may want to consider using Erase to quickly make the drive usable, and avoid the long wait time required for emptying trash.

CAUTION: If you accidentally erase a file and then erase the drive, you won’t be able to easily recover the file. Data recovery software will be required to get it back, and that can be very time consuming.