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How to recover deleted files on Chromebook (EXPLAINED)

recover deleted files chromebook

Although quite simple at its core, adapting to Chrome OS can sometimes pose a difficulty. Especially if you moved from Windows, where features like Recycle Bin are present for 30+ years. You might ask yourself where do deleted files go on Chromebook? How to recover deleted files on my Chromebook? To rip that band-aid: they are gone for good. ChromeOS is a cloud-oriented platform and as such, it doesn’t focus on the local files all that much. Unless you enable Trash Bin. We explain everything below.

Google decided to incorporate the Trash bin into ChromeOS but, at the time being, this feature is not enabled by default. What you need to do is enable it using Flags. We explain everything you need to know below. Sadly, you won’t be able to find previously deleted files on your Chromebook until you enable Trash Bin.

How to find deleted files on Chromebook?

Unlike Windows, Linux, or macOS, Chrome OS doesn’t offer a Recycle or Trash Bin for local storage. This platform heavily gravitates towards online storage and that’s where it offers an option to recover deleted files. In Google Drive and Google Photos. If you use Google Drive as the default Files Manager on your Chromebook, you can easily find Trash Bin.

So, to answer your question: you can’t recover deleted files in Chromebook by default. Google promised a Trash Bin of sorts but, at this moment, we don’t get it built-in. If you delete something from local storage, you can’t restore it.

But that’s not the end of it. The thing with Chrome OS is, at least in my experience, the fun (or actual advanced functionality) only starts when you decide to meddle with flags.

These experimental features might bring a few interesting quirks to the standard Chrome browser on Android or desktop. Before they get built-in in the stable versions. However, on Chromebooks, flags are life-changers.

In this case, we’ll look at the Trash Bin flag that, as the name suggests, enables a Trash Bin in Files. So, the next time you delete any files from local, internal storage, they’ll remain in the Recycle Bin. A quick Google search shows that Google promised to integrate this basic feature years ago, and now you can find it in Flags.

To enable Trash Bin on your Chromebook, follow these instructions:

  1. Open Chrome on your Chromebook.
  2. In the Address bar, type chrome://flags.
  3. Search for a flag called Enable Files Trash.recover deleted files chromebook
  4. Enable the flag and restart your Chromebook when prompted.
  5. Open Files and you should see the Trash Bin in the left pane.recover deleted files chromebook

Have in mind that deleted files will auto-delete permanently after 30 days. From now on, every file you delete from Downloads or other folders that are locally stored will be kept in the Trash. From there you can restore files or delete them permanently.

And, on that note, we can conclude this article. Sadly, you won’t be able to restore files that you deleted previously but you don’t need to worry about the future. Thank you for reading and please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. We look forward to hearing from you.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in February 2022. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.

Picture of Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Managing editor at Mobile Internist. @lemmingspain My fascination with mobile technology, particularly Android and iOS, began years ago and continues today. I'm captivated by the constant evolution in the smartphone industry and its impact on our daily lives, always anticipating the next big innovation. That’s the main reason why I found myself writing instructive content on the subject for users who are not as familiar with all the bells and whistles.
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