Why is Windows Recycle Bin and Mac OS X Trash different?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Kristenn, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. Kristenn macrumors 6502

    Aug 30, 2009
    I'm not sure if this is the right forum but I did notice this. Yesterday in school this girl had a Windows laptop and we were sitting close to each other in the hall. I noticed she was deleting files and after a few (I think big movie files) Windows told her it was too big to fit in the trash and asked her if she wanted to delete it permanently.

    I'm wondering becuase.... I have put like... close to I think 100 GB of data in my trash and it never said it was full. It seems endless. It just took a little longer to empty then normal. So I was wondering... why are they different like that?
  2. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    You can set the max size of your Recycle Bin.


    Why is it different to OS X? Because it's a different OS and they do things differently - shocker.
  3. iBlue macrumors Core


    Mar 17, 2005
    London, England
    Since e answered your question, I'd like to ask one. Why in the world do you have 100gb in your trash? That's just junk hoarding! Empty that poor thing or find suitable homes for your binned goods, if you must hoard.

    P.S. If you decide to empty, let us know how long it takes. :D
  4. stomer macrumors 6502a

    Apr 2, 2007
    Leeds, UK
    Interesting question. I always new that Windows had a limit on the size of the Reycle Bin but until now, I never really thought about why MS chose to set a limit.

    Possibly to artifically limit Windows users from having too much in their recycle bins?
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Generally speaking winblows, err umm windows uses a percentage of the hard drive to allocate to the trash-bin. When the deleted files approach that threshold things start getting permanently deleted.

    I like how apple applied this in that it stays in the trash until I delete it.
  6. Kristenn thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 30, 2009
    Oh yes I emptied it. It took maybe about 2 minutes to empty I think. It was back when I had Leopard. It's interesting that you can set the trash size it Windows. But still. It is interesting how it has a limit on it.

    Thanks for answering the question.

    Also... one time a app got stuck in my trash after I quit it and moved it to the trash. It wouldn't empty because it said it was being used. I restarted it and it still wouldn't empty. So today I just used sheepshaver and my old copy of Mac OS 9 to delete it. But is there a way you can get glitched items out of the trash in Mac OS X? This is actually the first time it happened.
  7. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
  8. fishmoose macrumors 68000

    Jul 1, 2008
    Real geeks use srm ;)
  9. charlesbronsen macrumors 6502a


    Oct 22, 2008
    Toronto, Ont
    I had this happen. It was a file I deleted off a flash drive and could not permanently delete until the flash drive was plugged in.
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    The real answer is that Mac OS X trash is a smarter implementation. In Mac OS when you trash a file it never moves. It stays right where it is and only some directory pointers are swapped around. Then in Mac OS later if you empty the trash more "pointer magic" takes place the the space those trashed files used is placed in the "heap" of free disk space that can be used for new files. Again nothing moves. It's all done with book keeping. In Mac OS the trash does not take up any space and so it has no limit.

    Don't credit Apple to much for being smart. They inherited the ability to do what they do from UNIX. It was all worked out 30 years ago, before the Windows or Macs were invented.
  11. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    Only on the good stuff..
  12. PeteB macrumors 6502a


    Jan 14, 2008
    Microsoft put a "size" on the recycle bin to remind users to clear it out from time to time.

    I guess that Mac users

    1) Never make mistakes

    2) Are good at putting the trash out
  13. coops macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2009
    I thought pretty much all file systems and OS's work along those lines - as in, 'deleting' doesn't remove (or move) the data, just frees up the space allocated to it on the disc to be rewritten over when/if needed....... hence the ability to 'recover' files that have been trashed and even 'wiped' clean and the whole necessity of shredding with multiple over-writes of random data.... not sure though - i'm just a long term user ;)
  14. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    the concept of 'trash' is really a separate directory. Files that are moved to trash are not delete; they are simply moved to the trash directory. It's only when the trash is emptied that the file system's delete comes into play. There were *nix options that would immediately overwrite deleted files, but these were for high security shops.
  15. Jookbox macrumors 6502

    Jan 19, 2002
    I've gone on to many people's macs with trash cans hundreds of gigabytes huge. No offense but mac users aren't necessarily smarter. I thinking of quite a few macbook and macbook pro users who are borderline retarded.
  16. sidewinder macrumors 68020


    Dec 10, 2008
    Northern California
    I like having a little more control over the Trash than Apple provides. An app called Compost is great for this.


    Also, it comes with an app called DeskTrash that lets me have a Trash can on the desktop. I love it!

  17. Aldaris macrumors 68000


    Sep 7, 2004
    Salt Lake
    Only because Mac OS X is more Accessible to a wide spectrum of people... even tards, there is a whole page... http://www.apple.com/macosx/accessibility/

    Now, now, before the hate PM's start coming in... Just really look at how accommodating Apple is.

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