When the first Chromebook made its appearance, the concept was revolutionary — it was a computer that was completely web-based and you would not have to wrestle with annoying operating system-related issues, as you do with a Windows machine.
If you are familiar with the Chrome browser and primarily indulge in web-centric activities, then a Chromebook is ideal for you.
But there’s no avoiding the need to store files locally, as it saves you the effort and time of accessing large files from the cloud each time. But as a Chromebook user, you now discover that your local disk is getting full — and you ask yourself, how to delete files on Chromebook?
You’re in the right place! We will show you all how you can delete files from your Chromebook, but also explain why keeping your local storage to a minimum is a good idea.
How to Delete Files on Chromebook
Deleting files on Chromebook is a pretty simple process. Here are the steps:
- Go to the Files app by choosing it from your App Drawer.
- Here, click on My Files or Downloads.
- Select the file you wish to download and then press the trash icon at the top.
- You can also right-click on the file (two-finger-tap on the touchpad) and choose “Move to trash.”
Additionally, you can delete files by selecting the files and then using a keyboard shortcut: Alt + Backspace.
Deleting Files on a Chromebook
As we mentioned earlier, the concept of a Chromebook is that you mainly use web-based apps and cloud storage for your daily activities. This is why most Chromebooks ship with either a 16GB or 32GB internal hard disk. The hard disk is meant for caching and for temporary files and is not really for you to use as a long-term storage drive.
To view the disk space taken up by the files you’ve stored on your Chromebook, open the Files app. Next, click on Downloads (the default location for anything you download), and then click the three-dot menu in the upper right corner. You will now see a bar showing you how much free space you have left.
Deleting files on your Chromebook isn’t radically different from the way you would do it on a Windows or a Mac computer, but there are certain details you must pay attention to. Let’s now look at all the different ways you can remove files from your Chromebook device.
Using the Files App on Chromebook
This is, of course, the default method to remove any files from your Chromebook that you deem unnecessary. The Files app lets you view all your downloads and manage them. To review your files, simply tap on the App Launcher on your screen (or on your keyboard) and look for the Files app. Here are the steps to delete the files:
- In the Files app, in the left pane, click on either My Files or Downloads.
- Find the file you wish to delete and select it.
- You can then click the Trash icon in the top right corner.
- Another method to delete the file would be to right-click it and then select “Move to trash.”
Remember, if you’re not happy about deleting files on your Chromebook, you can always move them to your cloud storage instead. You should see the Google Drive option in the left pane — to save a file to the cloud, simply drag and drop it over Google Drive, and the app will save a copy in no time.
Moving a file to the trash keeps it there for 30 days, after which it is deleted automatically. And what if you don’t see the trash option in your Files app? Keep reading to see how you can turn it on.
How to enable the Trash/Recycle Bin on Chromebook
There’s a chance you may visit your Files app and not see the Trash bin. In this scenario, you will have to manually activate the Trash feature on your Chromebook. Here are the steps to do that.
- Open Chrome, and in the address bar, type in “chrome://flags” (without the quotes) and hit Enter.
- In the search box, type in “trash.”
- When the option “Enable Files Trash” appears, tap the toggle button to turn it on.
- Now, restart your Chromebook.
- The next time you visit your Files app, you should be able to see the Trash option in the left pane.
Here’s a video for the above method if you need a visual guide:
Delete Files Using Keyboard Shortcuts
Deleting files using keyboard shortcuts is the fastest way to do it. The keyboard shortcut to delete a file from the Files app is “Alt+Backspace.” Hit this key combo, and the selected file will be sent to the Trash folder.
Permanently Deleting Files from your Chromebook
So now you’ve learned how to send files to the recycle bin on your Chromebook. But how do you remove files from your Chromebook permanently?
It’s as simple as opening the Files app, clicking on Trash at the bottom, and then selecting Empty Trash Now! All the local files in your recycle bin will be immediately erased.
Delete Files on Google Drive or Google One
If you use Google Drive or Google One to store files on the cloud, you will find this section helpful.
Note: Deleting files from Google Drive or Google One will not create space on your Chromebook’s hard disk.
- Open your app drawer and select Google Drive.
- Find the file (or files) you wish to delete, and select them.
- Now press Alt+Backspace on your keyboard, or select the Trash icon at the top.
- You will be asked to confirm your action — go ahead and do that.
The process is the same for Google One as well!
Delete Linux and Linux Apps
If you don’t actively use the Linux environment anymore, it might be a good idea to uninstall Linux from your system and delete any downloaded Linux apps.
Under “My Files” in the Files app, look for Linux files. You can select and delete all Linux-related files here.
To delete Linux apps, open your app drawer and look for a folder called Linux Apps. Here, you can right-click on each app and uninstall them. And if you wish to uninstall the Linux development environment, follow these steps:
- Click on the clock in the bottom right corner to pull up your Quick Settings menu, and select the cog wheel to open your system settings.
- Here, click on Advanced in the left pane.
- Next, look for Developers — choose that, and then choose Linux development environment.
- Here, at the bottom, you’ll see an option called “Remove Linux development environment.”
- Click that, follow the on-screen instructions, and you’ll have Linux off your system in no time! We mean the development environment here, as ChromeOS, which is a Linux-based OS, will still remain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why can’t I delete files on Chromebook?
If you’re unable to delete files from your Chromebook, it could be due to permission issues. If you’re using a work or school Chromebook, it’s best discussed with your IT admin team. Also, ensure you’re using the correct method to delete files — you have to open the Files app and delete files from either Downloads or anywhere under the My Files tree.
To delete files on your Chromebook, you can either right-click on the file and choose “Move to trash,” or you can select the file, and look for the trash icon at the top, and tap that. The quickest way, however, would be to use the keyboard shortcut — Alt+Backspace. This sends the file to the trash bin.
We hope this detailed guide on how to delete files on chromebook helped make your day better! After all, if your disk gets full, you’re sure to see a dip in performance. Your Chromebook will slow down and you may face issues like the device repeatedly restarting. You may even have to powerwash your Chromebook to get it working normally.
If you have any questions about your Chromebook, feel free to leave us your questions in the comments below!