files in use?


I’m running mac OS and when I try to delete files/folders off my drobo FS I frequently get the “item in use, cannot delete” error messages. Has anyone seen this and/or know how to fix this and delete folders/files?

If you’re comfortable in Terminal, you can use “lsof” to find out which files are open and what’s using them.

Open a Terminal, and type


without pressing Enter. Drag the icon for your Drobo volume into the Finder window, and the path to your Drobo will be appended, like

lsof /Volumes/MyDrobo

Hit Enter and you’ll get a text display that looks like this:

ignoranus:~ caroline$ lsof /Volumes/Media
ffmpeg 10705 caroline 3r REG 14,5 2607106048 163128 /Volumes/Media/Torrents/BTCC 2010 - Rounds 16-18 - Snetterton + Support Races - 08 Aug 2010/BTCC 2010 - Rounds 16-18 - Snetterton + Support Races - 08 Aug 2010.avi
ffmpeg 10705 caroline 4w REG 14,5 146733155 170081 /Volumes/Media/AppleTV/BTCC/Season 2010/BTCC 2010 - Rounds 16-18 - Snetterton + Support Races - 08 Aug 2010_1.mp4
rsync 10771 caroline cwd DIR 14,5 7208 123 /Volumes/Media/AppleTV
rsync 10771 caroline 4r REG 14,5 573730105 170076 /Volumes/Media/AppleTV/Coast/Coast s05e05.mp4

The first column is the process or app that’s using the file, the third column is the user, and the last entry is the name of the file. The column headed TYPE shows REG for a regular file in use, and DIR is there on line three because it’s a directory that a Terminal is "cd"ed to.

man lsof

will give you more information.

Thank you for the help. I did this to the drobo volume I was having issues with, and the only item in use it returned was the folder I was browsed to at the time in a finder window.

Is there any method to force-delete a file the system thinks is in use?

Use “rm” in a Terminal.



then drag the file into the Terminal window and press Enter. That will usually get rid of it if “lsof” doesn’t show it as busy, and in some cases even if it does.

This is an ongoing problem, especially when deleting folders (or worse, replacing a folder with another). The Drobo is indicating files are in use when they clearly are not. I don’t have this problem with any other NAS or computer, so I can only assume it’s yet another bug in DroboFS’s terrible NAS layer. SSH’ing to the Drobo and rm’ing things from there always works just fine.

it’s probably finder tying to make thumbnails of the files.

Except the folders I was deleting have never been opened, so nothing should have been accessing them. I’ll concede it’s possible - but I’ve not seen such behavior on other network shares (such as my Mac Mini).

Are you sure that Spotlight isn’t indexing the share?

I don’t think so - but I can’t say for absolute certain. I’ll have to wait for the next time it happens.