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There is a folder in /tmp/ that won't delete despite my computer being restarted. I know it's not being recreated at restart since the last edited and added date is 23 November 2015. I do know which program it belongs to, but I have uninstalled every last part of it. sudo rm -rf and sudo mv gives me operation not permitted, as well as directory not empty. I have had this before but my solution was moving them to /tmp/. The permissions are 0755 and I am not allowed to change them, including in sudo.

It's also not a big deal if they are not deleted, since take up 0 K space, but I just thought it was weird.

Moving them to /private/var/folders/f8/*/Cleanup At Startup did not delete the files either.

  • Are they locked files? /private/var smells like OS X and el capitan adds System Integrity Protection (SIP) that could make for undeletable files. I think there's flags on ls to show these flags, but my Mac is at home. – thrig Dec 4 '15 at 18:28
  • @thrig, when I think about it they are very likely files protected by SIP, however I can't turn SIP off because my recovery partition is broken. – DisplayName Dec 4 '15 at 18:40
  • Take a look at the output of # lsattr -d /tmp/FOLDER. If flag i is set (inmutable), then disable if #chattr -i /tmp/FOLDER – albertovar Dec 5 '15 at 9:21
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They are files protected by SIP, which can be turned off by booting into the Recovery Partition and running csrutil disable.

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lsof will tell you what program has files open in that directory. End the process and then rm -rf the directory. If there aren't any open files in that directory then it's possible you have some filesystem corruption. Since /tmp is probably part of your root filesystem you'll need to force fsck at the next reboot. Use sudo shutdown -rF now to do that (the -F flag forces fsck on reboot). After the fsck is done try rm -rfing the files again.

  • Hm.. weird, /tmp isn't even mentioned in lsof. – DisplayName Dec 4 '15 at 17:55
  • I guess the bigger question is what is the problem with the directory staying there? Does it just bug you or is it causing problems? – David King Dec 4 '15 at 17:57

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