I'm having a weird problem where my Trash Bin in Unity launcher is showing full when its not. Usually it wouldn't bother me but its been happening so often lately its getting annoying. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

  • 2
    I think this might be caused by a bug associated with trashing items on an external hard drive. I've filed a bug report here: bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/1076121 . If you experience the same behavior, please click on the green line "This bug affects ... users. Does it affect you?" -> "Yes, it affects me too." – Andre Nov 8 '12 at 19:15
  • Indeed. I plugged in my USB stick, trash showed files now, deleted them, and trash icon is empty again. – Mark Jeronimus Oct 1 '18 at 15:00

I would just delete the files, and if the bin is still full I would open a Terminal (Ctrl-Alt-T), type "xkill" and press enter. This will change the mouse pointer into an X. Hover the mouse over the Unity Dashboard and press the left mouse button. This will kill the dashboard, and one second later it will come back.

EDIT: The xkill approach will kill the session and the apps running in it and you'll have to login again. It does result in an empty trashcan icon though. (Tested under 14.04): It appears this is a long standing bug with many duplicates see: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/gnome-applets/+bug/269441

  • Thanks that helped I also found that I could jusr run unity --replacevia HUD and it reloads the panel. – shaneo May 17 '12 at 17:15
  • "unity --replace" seems like it's broken too, it kills my whole session and kicks me back to the login screen. – Ben Lutgens Jun 17 '15 at 15:30
  • Ubuntu 18.04 it doesn't come back....... – EODCraft Staff Dec 9 '18 at 20:03

I had the same issue. Files that were deleted from a USB drive were causing the Trash to appear full even though it was empty. As soon as I emptied the trash with the USB drive mounted, the trash was cleared.

  • 2
    What if you don't have that USB drive at hand? – That Brazilian Guy May 28 '19 at 18:15

The trash on the desktop tries to sum up all the trashes current user can access.

Each disk, each drive, has got its own trash, sort of speaking.

So (desktop) trash staying full after the usb stick is unplugged means :

  • trash has not been emptied while usb stick was plugged in,
  • deleted files on that usb stick are still present, they've just been moved to the "onboard" .trash folder but not actually deleted.

If that happens just plug in back that usb stick, or external drive, and deleted files will appear again inside the (desktop) trash. Now empty that trash and files from all "connected" trashes will be actually deleted.

It's not a bug. It's just how trashes work under linux-ubuntu.

  • 1
    I can assure you that in the case of multiple drives trash on the desktop does not "sum up all the trashes the current user can access" – Elder Geek Feb 21 '16 at 21:54
  • Well… that surprises me and think it's unexpected. It should sum up. It may be a more general right/permission problem ??? – Coeur Noir Feb 23 '16 at 12:02
  • It could be. I've experienced the issue with a 3 TB drive formatted with GPT. Im not sure if that's relevant but the failure to address files on that internal drive in the trash can led me to post this question. askubuntu.com/questions/698058/… Perhaps I misidentified the problem. However I clearly have rights to trash files there as well as remove them. Curious. – Elder Geek Feb 23 '16 at 17:11

Found that deleting files from ext-HDD causes the trash bin to be full even though its not. The solution is to move the files you want to delete from external to trash-bin than empty. Or log out and log back in

  • Is this the solution instead? Or a comment to your original post? – david6 Sep 24 '12 at 8:13
  • I can confirm the logout login workaround works. I'm considering using trash-cli instead. Too bad I can't remove the can from the launcher... – Elder Geek Feb 5 '16 at 5:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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