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During the course of your day-to-day managing of the files and folders on your Mac, you will most likely come across items that you no longer need. If you really don't need a copy of a file anymore, you should move it to your Mac's Trash, represented by the little waste- basket icon on the far right side of the Dock. On my desktop, I have a To Do list file that I've created in our previous movie, which I don't need anymore. All I have to do to get rid of it is drag it to the Trash. I hear a little sound effect and notice the Trash's icon has changed to look like paper has been thrown in the wastebasket, which is a nice visual indication that there are items in your trash.
Now, just like with the real trash can that sits by your feet at your real desk, you can still retrieve files that you have thrown in the trash as long as you haven't emptied the trash, which we'll look at how to do in just a moment. To see the contents of your trash, just click its icon. So you can see my To Do list is still sitting here, safe and sound. If I change my mind and want to remove it from the Trash, all I have to do is drag it back to my desktop. But let's put that back in the Trash for a moment. I can just drag it to this folder, since it's open. A nice feature of Mac OS X is that you can select a file in your Trash, click this little Gear Button icon, and one of the options here is Put Back, which when chosen, puts the selected file back to where it was before you moved it to the Trash.
This can be especially useful if you change your mind about trashing a file that was previously stored in several nested folders. Instead of having to navigate through all those folders, you can just choose Put Back to return it to its original location, in this case, to return the file to the desktop. What if you really do want to completely get rid of a file? Well, first drag it to the Trash. I am just going to close that window, because I don't need to see the file anymore. Then choose Finder > Empty Trash. A message appears asking you to confirm that you do want to empty the Trash and warns you that you can't undo this if you proceed.
This is your last chance to change your mind. If you're sure you want to empty the Trash, then click Empty Trash; if not, click Cancel. But in this case, I'll choose Empty Trash. Notice you hear that little paper crumpling sound, and then my Trash icon goes back to the appearance of an empty wastebasket, and there's no longer anything in the Trash window. So that To Do list really has been deleted from my computer. Now, there are other ways to potentially rescue recently deleted files, involving special software and other techniques, but we're not going to get into that here. And there are also other ways to send files to the Trash and empty it, but now you have the basic knowledge needed to understand how the Trash system works on your Mac, and how to trash and delete files when you no longer need them.
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