Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a SATA hard-drive, formatted as ext4, which is detected by Nautilus each time I boot the computer.

I do need to click on it, in Places, to actually mount it. That's okay, I'm happy with that.

However, when I manually unmount it (via the context menu in Nautilus), it asks me "Do you want to empty the trash befoe you unmount?" ... and this only started happening today, after 2 months of daily use...

Now, it could be that I've never had trash on this drive before today... it is possible, as I often do a Shift+Delete, and I don't do a manual unmount every day...

I was a bit surprised by this dialog, and wonder "Why?" (because Trash is typically a place which is manually maintained).

Also, how do I prevent this prompt from appearing?

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

On mounted volumes Nautilus does not move the trashed files to your main trash directory in your home folder as that wouldn't make much sense for huge files.

Next time you trash something hit Ctrl+H or select View Hidden Files from the menu. You will notice a .Trash folder lingering in your mounted drive.

The file is actually still on the drive until you permanently remove it. I guess it's just Nautilus' way of helping you keep things tidy, especially since you might be hooking the drive to other OSes.

I suppose a way to suppress the dialog would be to create your own trash/temp folder on each drive and move the files you want to trash but not delete just yet there. You could make Nautilus scripts/actions to point the files to your new folder. Since the files would be on the same drive there would be no overhead (i.e., the move would be instant/not cost any cpu) and you wouldn't be bothered by dialogs. I personally have a small (2GB partition) I use as a temp/share with Windows area for misc. odds and ends. I find it works quite well to get thinks out of the way. Of course that is not practical for big stuff, but you get the idea :)

share|improve this answer
Yes, thanks... I thought is may have been a "courtesy" alert... I still don't quite understand "Why" unless it is supposed to alert the user (me) that "Hey! these files are about to disappear when you unount, so maybe you want to peranently delete them anyhow" ...Okay I can see that as a "reason" ... so the "Why" is resolved... Now I wonder if there is a solution to "How can I stop this dialog?" ... it isn't exactly critical, but I don't need it, so I'd rather it not be there. – Peter.O Nov 26 '10 at 17:48
I think it might well end up as just a "thing" that nautilus does (as you've mentioned), and that there may be no On/Off switch... I'll wait a while, as someone may know of a switch somewhere... I've just looked through gconf-editor, but nothing stood-out... Knowing the "why" actualy makes this issue feel quite reasonable, so I'm not surprised any more.. :) – Peter.O Nov 26 '10 at 18:30
I've tested this dialog a bit further... It does only delete the trash for that particular drive, which was not made clear by the wording of the dialog, and I hadn't encountered a "per drive" trash option before today, so I was wary of it... Now that I know definitley that it doesn't effect anything else, I'm pretty happy with it... even though I don't need it (hence don't want it), it is a minor trade-off for the many "I want" features of a GUI File Browser.... – Peter.O Nov 27 '10 at 1:29
Well, I've looked around a bit and see no clear way to suppress the dialog. So it is probably a built in "feature." The trash is actually a mounted virtual drive, hence it's ability to hook into multiple locations, so it's good to know that it doesn't delete ALL the trash. I would definitely take issue then (and probably file a bug report). I did some experimenting myself and can see how this would be annoying, but atleast it doesn't hurt anything. Nautilus has some bugs in it that drive me crazy, like not being able to access the root trash or open .desktop files in the conventional way. – Deadite81 Nov 27 '10 at 13:24
@Deadite81 - You can open .desktop files by making them executable. I would also like this issue to be solved.... – Wilf Mar 2 '14 at 15:12

It sounds like what is essentially happening is that the trashed files are probably keeping opened files from the filesystem you're trying to unmount.You can try using lsof to find out what is preventing the unmount.Something like lsof | grep /the/mountpoint of the device.Nautilus can be misleading though sometimes, because it may be mounting somewhere else than expected.

To get rid of this problem Open your SATA hard-drive and press Ctrl+H (or goto View Menu and Select Show Hidden Files) you will see the folder named Trash or similar to the snapshot below,delete that..And then unmount it..

alt text

share|improve this answer
It isn't that... The dialog doesn't appear when I have just emptied the Trash, and does appper when I make an empty file and delete it to the Trash... I did nothing else to the file other than create it and delete it to Trash.... and lsof showed a blank... (but thanks anyhow...) ... and just coincidently, I was actually experimenting with lsof when I first noticed this. – Peter.O Nov 26 '10 at 17:11
$ mount shows the drive as: /dev/sdc1 on /media/E_0298_back type ext4 (rw,nosuid,nodev,uhelper=udisks) ... and fuser -c /media/E_0298_back also returned blank – Peter.O Nov 26 '10 at 17:31
Re. deleting the .Trash folder... I actually want to keep the trash... and in any case, it's quicker to just click the relevant button on the dialog... but I'd really simply not have the dialog present itself in the first place... It feels like a case of a tad too much well-intended "courtesy" ("too much" if I can't toggle the option OFF)... but is isn't a "critical" issue :) – Peter.O Nov 26 '10 at 17:59

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.