Neil's News

Instant Delete

24 July 2006

Most computer users drag stuff they don't want into the Trash (Mac) or Recycle Bin (Windows), then they empty the trash at irregular intervals. Fairly simple.

Other users like to keep their deleted files indefinitely. One never knows when one wants to take a look at an old version of a file from four years ago. It happens. Frequently.

In order to make this retention strategy workable, it is desirable to be able to instantly delete files which one knows beyond a doubt one will never need again. Things like installation packages, core dumps, or that Star Trek episode you downloaded which turned out to be in Swedish.

Under Windows, this is easy, just Shift-Delete to instantly delete a file. Under OS X it is a bit more complicated. Here's a recipe for adding a Delete icon to the Mac's Dock. Dragging a file onto the Delete icon will immediately destroy it, whereas dragging a file onto the Trash icon will keep it.

  1. Open the Finder to your user directory.
  2. Create a folder called 'Delete'.
  3. Drag the Delete folder onto your Dock, next to the Trash.
  4. Download add - delete files.scpt and place it in "/Library/Scripts/Folder Actions Scripts" folder. If that path doesn't exist, you are probably looking in your user's Library not the system's.
  5. Rick-click (Control Click) on the Delete folder and select 'Configure Folder Actions'.
  6. Check the Enable Folder Actions checkbox.
  7. Use the + button to add the Delete folder.
  8. Attach the 'add - delete files.scpt' script.

That's it, you're done.

The only thing I can't figure out is how to give the folder a custom icon. Setting the icon is easy, but naturally it deletes itself. Any ideas?

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