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I left Google Drive uploading all my files accidentally and it uploaded 80 thousand files. I tried to delete all files in Drive, but it is impossible. Because the "Empty Trash" function only erases the files on the screen (+/- 100 files), it will be necessary to "empty trash" several thousand times.

Is there a way to "empty trash" faster?

  • 6
    Are you sure about it only deleting what's on the screen? After I invoked this function, the Drive screen indeed refreshed, showing more files in the trash, but then it refreshed again, and those were gone too. It looks like deletion happens in batches; just wait for a while after picking the Empty option. – user135384 Sep 30 '17 at 4:51
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    @user4412195 is right: (a) Drive updates the screen periodically but the update interval is slow, (b) it doesn't always delete the topmost file before the ones below it, and (c) there's no UI spinner showing that this is happening, so again it's hard to notice. – Simon Woodside May 18 '18 at 3:21
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    Note also that the removal takes a while for the Google servers to process, so depending on the amount of files it might take several hours or more. – user189243 Jun 21 '18 at 17:58
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    omg. ended up here.. pain!! this feature isn't available yet! :/ why would google NOT? they're ahead of the future, but without this...not so good!! – Pasan Eeriyagama Sep 4 '18 at 6:51
  • Two thoughts on this. There's a chance it's on purpose to either protect novice users from deleting everything accidentally or protect their servers from extra load. But in all cases this is effectively a bug because when a user clicks "empty trash" they expect to empty the trash at that moment and not tomorrow. – j riv Feb 8 at 5:38
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Try executing the Google Drive REST APIs method Files:emptyTrash from https://developers.google.com/drive/api/v3/reference/files/emptyTrash

Open the link, click TRY IT! and EXECUTE and Authorise your account. You will get a 204 response which indicates a success execution.

This worked for me, but the files got deleted very slowly (~2 hours).

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    Didn't work for me, I get 204 No Content after authorising it. – user2891462 Oct 9 '18 at 11:04
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    If successful, this method returns an empty response body. – DidThis Oct 12 '18 at 8:14
  • Worked well for me. Emptied out trash with 50 GB in very small files in a few seconds. Simply press <Try it now> and then select Java Script as it will allow you to authenticate right away. – tobalr Mar 1 '19 at 7:14
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    Tried this. Will not work immediately. I will recheck later what happens. – f01 Apr 4 '19 at 8:56
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    For me, this deleted some (most) of the files. Didn't delete them all. And further repetitions doesn't help. Google certainly isn't making this easy. Trying to force people to buy Google Drive space? – Chris Prince Jul 7 '19 at 23:41
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I was also puzzled by the apparent deletion of only the visible files. That is until I took a cue from @Simon Woodside's comment:

(a) Drive updates the screen periodically but the update interval is slow, (b) it doesn't always delete the topmost file before the ones below it, and (c) there's no UI spinner showing that this is happening, so again it's hard to notice

After clicking "Empty Trash" I checked back a day later and found that indeed all the files in Trash were gone. It simply takes longer than you'd expect.

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  • This is the correct answer. Just wait a while and the files are gone. – johan May 23 at 7:32
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I used Google Drive on Android, took a few attempts (kept getting Network Error) but eventually I freed up about 50 GB of space.

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  • As this is Web Applications, we rather expect that solutions will also involve web apps. There's no guarantee the asker has an Android device. – ale Jun 21 '18 at 17:43
-4

You can also highlight selected cells using click-scroll-shift+click. Perhaps if you deleted a smaller range then:

  • you can assure that files are being deleted.
  • it may be that there are just too many files to delete all at once. Depending on your connection and other factors, 80,000 may just be too many to do at once.
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  • 3
    What does user's internet connection have to do with it? It's all done on Google's Server. – user135384 Oct 1 '17 at 16:28

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