I had this very surprising situation recently, while trying to delete folders containing many files (think code repo checkout with some 10 thousands files):

  • When I tried to do this via command line as I normally would with rm -rf I waited for quite a while (say a minute?) without it finishing...

  • On the other hand, when deleting folders of the same size in nautilus file browser, the delete was instantaneous - and not only so in the GUI, but the folder was also gone in the FS, as a ls on the terminal showed me.

So how can this be? Doesn't nautilus just execute 'normal' rm? Or is it equipped with some way of dealing with large tasks in the background?

1 Answer 1


Nautilus "deletes" files by moving them to the trash, and moving a file on the same filesystem is a very fast operation. You forgot to add the time taken emptying the trash into your observation.

  • 1
    That was sort of obvious, now I feel stupid. :)
    – fgysin
    Oct 10, 2013 at 13:57

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