We answer: What is Recycle Bin in Windows 10 and how to use it?

By: Milan Stanojevic
4 minute read

Recycle Bin has been a part of Windows since the earliest versions, and even though the look of Recycle Bin might have changed over the years, its functionality remained the same on Windows 10. Since Recycle Bin is a fundamental tool of Windows 10 and all other versions of Windows, we decided to make an in-depth analysis of this tool.

What is Recycle Bin and how does it work on Windows 10?

As previously mentioned, Recycle Bin isn’t a new feature of Windows 10, and it works the same as it did in previous versions of Windows. When you delete a certain file, the file itself isn’t actually deleted from your hard drive, instead it’s moved to your Recycle Bin, and even if you can’t use it while it’s located in Recycle Bin, you can easily restore it to the original location at any time.

Since moving the files to Recycle Bin doesn’t actually delete them, they will still occupy the same space on your hard drive. If you want to permanently delete a file or folder from your PC, you can do that by following these steps:

  1. Locate the file you wish to remove and right click it.
  2. Press and hold Shift on your keyboard and choose Delete from the menu.
    delete-file
  3. You should see a window asking if you want to permanently remove this file or folder.
    remove-confirm
  4. Click Yes to permanently remove a file.

If you use this method, your files won’t be available in Recycle Bin so you won’t be able to restore them, so keep that in mind. Alternatively, you can delete individual files from Recycle Bin in order to permanently remove them. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Open Recycle Bin.
  2. Locate the file you wish to remove and right click it. Choose Delete from the menu.
    recycle-bin-delete
  3. You should see the confirmation dialog, click Yes to permanently remove that specific file or folder.
    delete-confirm

If you wish to delete all files and folders permanently from Recycle Bin you can do the following:

  1. Right click Recycle Bin and choose Empty Recycle Bin. When the confirmation dialog appears click Yes.
    empty-recycle
  2. Optional: You can also delete all files simply by opening Recycle Bin, right clicking the empty space and choosing Empty Recycle Bin from the menu.
    empty-recycle-2

Now when you know how to permanently delete files from Recycle Bin, let’s see how you can restore them. In order to restore a certain file to its original location, you need to do the following:

  1. Open Recycle Bin and locate the file you wish to restore.
  2. Right click the file and choose Restore from the menu.
    restore-recycle-bin
  3. Optional: You can also select the file you wish to restore, click the Manage menu and choose Restore the selected items. If you wish, you can also restore all the files from the Recycle Bin by selecting the Restore all items from the Manage menu.
    restore-selected-items

As previously mentioned, files in Recycle Bin aren’t deleted from your computer and they are still taking certain amount of space. If you want to increase the amount of space that Recycle Bin uses for each hard drive partition, you can do that by following these steps:

  1. Right click Recycle Bin icon and click on Properties.
    properties-recycle-bin
  2. When Properties window opens, you can select how much space will Recycle Bin use from each partition by changing the Maximum size(MB) value.
    properties-recycle-bin-2

If you don’t wish to store deleted files in Recycle Bin, you have the option to permanently delete them without moving them to the Recycle Bin. Bear in mind that this option will permanently delete your files, and by default this option doesn’t use a confirmation dialog, so be extremely careful if you’re going to use it. To enable this option, do the following:

  1. Open Recycle Bin Properties.
  2. Select your hard drive partition and select Don’t move files to the Recycle Bin. Remove files immediately when deleted. Bear in mind that you can choose files from one partition to be permanently deleted, while files from a different partition can be set to move to Recycle Bin when you choose the Delete option.
    delete-permanently
  3. Notice: By default, Windows 10 doesn’t give you a confirmation message when you choose to delete a certain file or folder, so if you enable option to permanently delete files without moving them to Recycle Bin, you might accidentally remove important files. To prevent this from happening check the Display delete confirmation dialog option.
    display-delete-confirmation
  4. Click Apply and OK to save changes.

Since every file moved to the Recycle Bin is still taking space on your hard drive, it’s always a good idea to clean your Recycle Bin from time to time in order to save some space, and if you want to permanently delete a file from your PC, you can do it by following one of the several methods that we mentioned above.

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Recycle Bin is a key component of every Windows operating system, therefore it’s important that you know how to use it properly, and we hope that our guide thought you a thing or two about Recycle Bin.

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