What to do when Recycle Bin goes missing in Windows 10/11

by Aleksandar Ognjanovic
Aleksandar Ognjanovic
Aleksandar Ognjanovic
Troubleshooting Expert
Aleksandar's main passion is technology. With a solid writing background, he is determined to bring the bleeding edge to the common user. With a keen eye, he always... read more
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Recycle Bin missing from desktop

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It’s an ancient unwritten rule that My Computer (or This PC) and Recycle Bin are two icons that every desktop should have. And they’re there by default, most of the time, waiting to be spread to opposite corners to rule the desktop landscape. However, sometimes, your Recycle Bin goes missing and it’s nowhere to be found.

Luckily, system icons are above and beyond the standard shortcuts, a third-party program can create. And you can restore them in a few simple steps. So if you’re looking for Recycle Bin, the steps below should help you find it.

Where did my Recycle Bin go?

Solution 1: Check Desktop Icon Settings

If your Recycle Bin is missing from the desktop, there’s a quick fix that should easily resolve that. System icons, including the good old Recycle Bin and This PC, have a hidden settings menu that enables them to share the desktop space with all that other shortcuts you so diligently created.

Here’s how to get Restore Bin back on track within a few simple steps:

  1. Right-click on the desktop and choose Personalize.recycle bin windows 10 missing
  2. From the left pane, select Themes.recycle bin windows 10 missing
  3. Choose Desktop Icon settings from the far right corner.recycle bin windows 10 missing
  4. Check the box beside the Recycle Bin.recycle bin windows 10 missing
  5. Optional: Uncheck the box beside the ”Allow themes to change desktop icons”. Some of them might remove (or already have removed) the Recycle Bin icon.
  6. Confirm changes.

And this is how you can get your Recycle Bin back?

My Recycle Bin is still missing from desktop

However, in case that you’re still, for some quite strange reason, unable to locate Recycle Bin on the desktop, we offer one slightly more complex solution.

Solution 2: Use Run

If there was some unknown system critical error at hand and your Recycle Bin evaporated, you can still access it with the little help of the Run elevated command line. Back in the days it was stuck and hidden in the system partition.

But nowadays, the only way to access it is with a certain command. Follow the instructions below to access Recycle Bin:

  1. Press Windows + R to open Run.
  2. In the command line type the following path and press Enter:
    • C:$Recycle.Binrecycle bin windows 10 missing

Solution 3: Create a Recycle Bin shortcut

If you also create a new Recycle Bin shortcut to solve this problem. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Launch File Explorer > go to View > Options > Folder Options
  2. Select the View tab > Select Show hidden files, folders and drivesdisable show hidden files
  3. Uncheck Hide protected operating system files (Recommended).Hide protected operating system files file explorer folder options
  4. Hit Apply >OK.

Once you’ve confirmed your choice, go back to File Explorer and navigate to the drive where you installed Windows 10. Right-click on $Recycle.Bin and select the Desktop option to create the shortcut.

There you go. From there, you can manipulate the deleted files and restore them if needed. In addition, don’t forget that the desktop icons are disabled for a tablet mode by default.

That should do it. Don’t forget to share with us your thoughts on the subject or reveal some additional solutions. You can do it in the comments section below.


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