Change the Recycle Bin settings


You can change the settings of the Recycle Bin to suit the way you work. For example, if you rarely empty the Recycle Bin because you want to save your discarded files, you can increase the maximum storage size of the Recycle Bin. You can also turn off the delete confirmation dialog box that appears every time you send files to the Recycle Bin, or even choose not to move files to the Recycle Bin but instead permanently delete them from your computer.

For more information about permanently deleting files, see Permanently delete files from the Recycle Bin.

If you don't see the Recycle Bin, it's probably hidden—see Show or hide the Recycle Bin.

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To set the maximum storage size for the Recycle Bin

If you like keeping all your deleted files in the Recycle Bin as a safety net, you can increase the maximum storage size for the Recycle Bin.

  1. On the desktop, right-click Recycle Bin, and then click Properties.

  2. Under Recycle Bin Location, click the location of the Recycle Bin you want to change (likely your C drive).

  3. Click Custom size, and then, in the Maximum size (MB) box, enter a maximum storage size (in megabytes) for the Recycle Bin.

  4. Click OK.

To permanently delete files instead of moving them to the Recycle Bin

You can choose to bypass the Recycle Bin when you delete something. This option is not recommended for most users.

  1. On the desktop, right-click Recycle Bin, and then click Properties.

  2. Under Recycle Bin Location, click the location of the Recycle Bin you want to change (likely your C drive).

  3. Click Don't move files to the Recycle Bin. Remove files immediately when deleted., and then click OK.

To turn off the delete confirmation dialog

If you don't want to receive a message each time you send a file or folder to the Recycle Bin, you can choose to not get the messages.

  1. On the desktop, right-click Recycle Bin, and then click Properties.

  2. Under Recycle Bin Location, click the location of the Recycle Bin you want to change (likely your C drive).

  3. Clear the Display delete confirmation dialog check box, and then click OK.

To change how the Recycle Bin looks

The Recycle Bin has two different appearances: one when it's empty, and one when it has files or folders inside. You can customize the appearance of the Recycle Bin by changing one or both of these icons.

Picture comparing the Recycle Bin when empty and full
Comparison of the Recycle Bin when empty (left) and full (right)
  1. Open Personalization by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type personalization, and then click Personalization.

  2. In the left pane, click Change desktop icons.

  3. In the list of desktop icons, click Recycle Bin (full) or Recycle Bin (empty), and then do one of the following:

    • To change the Recycle Bin to a new icon, click Change Icon. Select an icon from the list, and then click OK.

    • To change the Recycle Bin to its original icon, click Restore Default.

  4. Click OK.

Note

  • If you have multiple hard drives, partitions, or an external hard drive connected to your computer, each location will have its own Recycle Bin settings. When changing settings in the Recycle Bin Properties dialog, under Recycle Bin Location, make sure you select the location you want to change.