How Mac Trash Handles External Drive Files (#1697)

How Mac Trash Handles External Drive Files (#1697)


So here’s something that seems pretty straight
forward until you start to think about it. Say you put a file in the trash. I’m going to drag a file here and I can dump
it in the trash. Looks like it’s gone. Says this folder has zero items in it. But I know that it’s still there in the trash. I can click on the trash and there it is. I can drag it back or somewhere else. I can even Control click on it and I could
say Put Back. That all makes sense. But what happens if this is an external drive
or a removable drive. In this case it’s a thumb drive. A USB thumb drive. I’m going to drag this to the trash. What happens if I eject the thumb drive. If I look in the trash now with the thumb
drive in there, there is the file in the trash and any other files that I would have thrown
away on my main hard drive would be in here as well. But if I eject the thumb drive you can see
it goes away. It’s not there anymore. That’s because the file is still on that external
drive. Putting it in the trash doesn’t move it to
some trash folder on your local drive. It’s in a special location on that external
drive. So what you see as the trash is actually a
list of files that are on any connected drives that you have thrown in the trash. So if you have, say, an external drive, an
internal drive, and maybe a USB thumb drive and you have items in the trash from all three
of them you’re going to see them in a big list here. But you’ll only see the items for the drives
that are connected. So disconnect one of those drives and those
items disappear. Now if I reattach that drive it will reappear
in the trash because now it’s connected to that drive and there it goes. There’s that item that’s reappear there in
the trash. Now here’s something else that’s interesting. There’s actually more than this one item in
the trash on this external drive. Where is it because we only see one. Well I used this external drive on another
Mac and I threw items from that Mac in the trash. When I did that it put it in the trash from
the drive but it doesn’t give permission for other users and other computers to see those
items. In order to see those trash items I need to
put it back. So, if I were to eject the drive now, stick
it in another Mac you would not see this file anywhere. It wouldn’t appear in the trash. There would be no way to recover it on that
Mac. You have to put it back in the same user and
on the same Mac in order to recover that file out of the trash. This is great for security. If you throw something away in the trash and
then you give that drive to somebody else they can’t get what’s out of the trash and
view it. You should empty the trash to make sure that
that file is gone but at least you know if you make a mistake that file won’t be accessible
by anybody else. One more thing I want to show you about the
Trash. Suppose I drag these three items from my local
hard drive into the trash. Now I know I’ve got this one item here and
it’s from that thumb drive. I can actually get information, Command I,
and it will say where, thumb drive, right there. Whereas if I select this item here then when
I get information on that it says where, and my local iCloud Drive. So I can tell where these items come from. Now suppose I want to empty trash but for
some reason I don’t want to delete these just yet. I only want to delete the one on this USB
drive so I can give it to somebody. Well, you can actually do that. If you Control click on it there is the option
to Delete immediately and that will delete that one file immediately and leave the rest
of your trash untouched. It’s a handy way just to clear up just those
items that are on that drive or just a particular item you really want to delete while leaving
the rest of your trash intact.

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *