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How to manage deleted files on a Chromebook

Chromebook against a background of small illustrations.
Illustration by Samar Haddad / The Verge

Like Windows and macOS computers, Chromebooks handle file deletion in two steps. Initially, the files aren’t actually deleted, even though they disappear from view. They’re kept around in what is called the Trash, just in case you ever need them back, and then are wiped automatically after a certain amount of time. However, if you’re dealing with sensitive information or selling your device, you can also permanently erase them.

ChromeOS, the operating system behind Chromebooks, actually gives you two file systems to think about: one in the cloud (in other words, Google Drive) and one that is local. Each of these systems handles deleted files slightly differently. And note that there’s no syncing between the trash folder for local files…

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