Last time I trashed a file

$ pwd
$ trash mfile 
trash: cannot trash regular file `mfile'
$ sudo trash mfile 

and the file went into

$ sudo ls /.Trash/0/files -la
total 12
drwx------ 2 root root 4096 May 19 16:52 .
drwx------ 4 root root 4096 May 19 16:52 ..
-rw-rw-r-- 1 t    t       6 May 19 16:48 mfile
  1. Now I can't empty the trash:

    $ sudo trash-empty 
    $ sudo ls /.Trash/0/files -la
    total 12
    drwx------ 2 root root 4096 May 19 16:52 .
    drwx------ 4 root root 4096 May 19 16:52 ..
    -rw-rw-r-- 1 t    t       6 May 19 16:48 mfile

    How can I empty the trash?

  2. I can't list the files in that trash either

    $ sudo trash-list
    [sudo] password for t: 
    TrashDir skipped because parent not sticky: /.Trash/0


  • 2
    What's wrong with sudo rm /.Trash/0/files/mfile? Commented May 22, 2018 at 23:15
  • @roaima The idea is to check what files are in the trash bin of all partitions and selectively remove or restore certain one.
    – Wang
    Commented Apr 25, 2019 at 16:15

2 Answers 2


I believe the root cause of this problem is that when a Trash folder is created for a mounted partition it can be created without the sticky bit set. This appears to be the case when mounting to any of the "system_internal" mount paths There have been bugs reported regarding this problem against trash-cli and a workaround of adding a secret --trash-dir option to trash-empty in commit (2a83ed5) was added to allow trash-empty to empty a specified directory bypassing the sticky bit check. This clue leads us to the simplest solution. Simply set the sticky bit on the Trash folder in question with the command chmod +t /mount/point/.Trash This allows trash to function as intended. I've tested this approach on partitions mounted at /srv and /home and /media/$USER/VolumeName on Ubuntu 16.04 and Ubuntu 18.04 and the results were successful as expected. I would expect this approach to work on other `nixes as well.

Note: This approach won't work on filesystems that don't support setting the sticky bit such as NTFS and FAT but works great on EXT2/3/4 filesystems.

Here's a list of those "system_internal" mount paths:

 "/",              /* we already have "Filesystem root" in Nautilus */ 
    "/var/log/audit", /* https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=333041 */
    "/var/tmp",       /* https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=335241 */






Just remove it with the rm command including the -r and -f switches. These will delete directories (r) and symbolic links (f) to any trashed files.

rm -rf /.Trash/0/files/*

Don't forget the glob expansion (*) otherwise you'll delete the trash directory.

echo "alias empty='rm -rf /.Trash/0/files/*'" >> ~/.bashrc

This makes an alias so now you can empty the trash with the command empty.

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