FIX: Windows 10 deleted items are not in Recycle Bin

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
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  • Deleted files usually go into the Recycle.bin system folder. If you can’t find them, that’s a problem.
  • When some of your deleted items aren’t in Recycle Bin, see the below tips to solve the issue for good.
  • With your data recovered, you can use one of the best Recycle Bin cleaners for your Windows 10 PC.
  • Check out our Windows 10 Troubleshooting Hub too for similar tips and guidance in times of need.
recycle bin missing fix

Some Windows 10 users might be surprised when the Recycle Bin does not include recently deleted items.

The Recycle Bin is a repository of files deleted with File Explorer, so you would usually expect to see recently erased files there. However, the Recycling Bin doesn’t always include deleted files.

Where do deleted files go in Windows 10?

Deleted files usually go into the $Recycle.bin system folder from which you can restore them. This folder is in the root C: directory.

However, as it’s a hidden folder, you’ll probably need to adjust some File Explorer settings to see $Recycle.bin in your HDD’s root directory as shown in the snapshot below.

You don’t need to see that folder as there’s a direct shortcut to the Recycle Bin on the Windows 10 desktop.

If you can’t find recently deleted files in the Recycle Bin, then they’ve probably been erased. Files in the Recycle Bin aren’t truly deleted, but you can still erase files without them going into the bin first.

Users might get a little confused when that happens as they expect files to be in the Recycle Bin. This is how you can ensure all files go to the Recycle Bin and fix a bin that isn’t including deleted files.

What can I do if Windows 10 deleted items are not in Recycle Bin?

  1. Give a try to Stellar Data Recovery
  2. Don’t press the Shift key when deleting files
  3. Don’t delete files on flash drives
  4. Don’t delete files With the Command Prompt
  5. Deselect the Don’t move files to Recycle Bin option
  6. Increase the maximum size limit for Recycle Bin files
  7. Reset the Recycle Bin

1. Give a try to Stellar Data Recovery

Stellar Data Recovery

Let us tell you from the start that Stellar Data Recovery has powerful file recovery capabilities and we’re not talking about time-consuming procedures that you most likely try to avoid.

Most users have no idea how intuitive this tool is. Don’t be one of them and read our awesome Stellar Data Recovery review to find all about it.

Whether it’s a lost document that you have in mind, a photo or some videos, Stellar’s tool has you covered. You just need to give a try to this widely trusted Windows data recovery solution.

Even inexperienced users will enjoy its user interface, while the data recovery process is self-explanatory.

All you need to do is to select the Recycle Bin folder location, click Scan, and then Recover in order to get back all recovered data.

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2. Don’t press the Shift key when deleting files

Shift key

One way you can bypass the Recycle Bin is to press and hold the Shift key when deleting a file. Holding the Shift key will erase the file without it going in the recycling bin first.

As such, make sure you’re not pressing the Shift key when deleting a file.


You can’t actually use the Shift key at all? Count on us to solve the problem in no time. 


3. Don’t delete files on flash drives

files on flash drives

Note that USB flash drives don’t include $Recycle.bin folders. You can delete files to the Recycle Bin from alternative HDD partitions, but not directly from a USB drive.

So if you’re deleting files from USB storage, that’s probably why you can’t find them in the Recycle Bin. Move the USB stick’s files onto a hard drive folder before deleting them.

4. Don’t delete files with the Command Prompt

files Command Prompt

Also, note that the Command Prompt doesn’t utilize the Recycle Bin. As such, all files deleted via the Prompt bypass the recycling bin.

So, don’t erase files with the Prompt if you might need to retain them in the Recycle Bin.

5. Deselect the Don’t move files to Recycle Bin option

  1. If no deleted items appear in the Recycle Bin, you probably need to deselect the Don’t Move Files to Recycle Bin option. To do that, right-click the Recycle Bin icon on the desktop and select Properties.
  2. Then deselect the Don’t Move Files to Recycle Bin setting on the window below.
  3. Click the Apply button to confirm the new setting.
  4. Press the OK button to close the window.

6. Increase the maximum size limit for Recycle Bin files

maximum size limit

The Recycle Bin Properties window also includes a Custom size option.

That option enables you to adjust the maximum size of files that you can delete to the Recycle Bin. If you delete a file that eclipses that maximum figure, it will not go in the bin.

As such, entering a higher number in the Maximum size text box will also ensure that more files go to the Recycle Bin.

7. Reset the Recycle Bin

  1. Open the Win + X menu with the Windows + X hotkey.
  2. Select Command Prompt (Admin) on the Win + X menu.
  3. Enter the following command in the Prompt window, and press the Return key: rd /s /q C:$Recycle.bin
  4. Then close the Command Prompt, and restart Windows 10.

A Recycle Bin that doesn’t include deleted items might be corrupted. You can reset a Recycle Bin that isn’t working with the help of the above steps.


If you’re having trouble accessing Command Prompt as an admin, then you better take a closer look at this guide.


So that’s how you can ensure the Recycle Bin includes deleted files. However, remember that you don’t always need the Recycle Bin to restore deleted files.

As for the actual procedure, do keep in mind that it’s easier and less time-consuming to go for Stellar Data Recovery from the very start.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in October 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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