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What is the difference between moving a file to Trash and using the Terminal to rm it?

What is the idea behind the scenes?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Putting something in the trash effectively moves it to a system folder where it can be later retrieved.

When you rm something, you are deleting it. While the data is not wiped, reference to where the file is stored on the disk is deleted, and the space the file occupies is marked as available for use.

It is possible to get the file back after this, but far more difficult and the space the file occupied could easily be overwritten depending on free space and activity.

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"from Lion onwards"? – Daniel Beck Nov 25 '11 at 11:55
Ooops, yeah there was supposed to be some extra info there about the way Lion handles this, but it read like trash only works on lion :). Removed. – Paul Nov 25 '11 at 12:12

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