With (setq delete-by-moving-to-trash t), deleting a non-empty directory in a remote dired buffer fails with message file-error: Couldn’t delete /ssh:server:/home/user/Downloads/some_directory. I tried with toggle-debug-on-error on, but no stack trace was given.

Trashing a remote file is just OK.

When delete-by-moving-to-trash is nil, everything is just fine.

The remote Ubuntu server has trash-cli ( install by sudo apt-get install trash-cli.

There's a related question here, but it does not seem to solve my problem.

My emacs version is: GNU Emacs 28.1 (build 1, x86_64-apple-darwin21.5.0, Carbon Version 165 AppKit 2113.5) of 2022-07-04.

How can I fix this?

1 Answer 1


According to the document of move-file-to-trash:

Move the file (or directory) named FILENAME to the trash.

When delete-by-moving-to-trash is non-nil, this function is
called by delete-file and delete-directory instead of
deleting files outright.

If the function system-move-file-to-trash is defined, call it
 with FILENAME as an argument.
Otherwise, if trash-directory is non-nil, move FILENAME to that
Otherwise, trash FILENAME using the freedesktop.org conventions,
 like the GNOME, KDE and XFCE desktop environments.  Emacs moves
 files only to "home trash", ignoring per-volume trashcans.

I solve a similar problem by defining system-move-file-to-trash:

  (defun system-move-file-to-trash (filename)
     (format "trash %S" (file-local-name filename))))
  • 1
    Works like a charm! Thank you! Jul 6 at 9:08

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