How to Use a Computer's Recycle Bin

by Contributor

Managing your computer's files means knowing where they are when you need them. It's also important to know how to delete them safely and effectively when you no longer need them. The Recycle Bin is a temporary folder that stores any files that are intended for deletion. These files are not deleted until prompted. This gives you the option of changing your mind in case you accidentally delete the wrong file.

Find the files you wish to send to your computer's Recycle Bin. You can do this by directly accessing the file folder if you know where it is, or you can use the Start Menu's "Search" feature and enter the name of the file to find it.

Highlight the file using the mouse pointer by single clicking on the file or folder in question.

Press the "Delete" key. This will bring up a context menu asking you if you're sure you want to send the item to the Recycle Bin.

Confirm your selection by clicking "Yes." This will automatically send the file to the Recycle Bin. Press "No" if you've made a mistake.

Use the right-click context menu instead of the "Delete" key to cut out a step. Simply click the "Delete" link on the menu and proceed as you did in Step 4.

Right-click on the Recycle Bin, which should be on your desktop. This will bring up its list of functions. Open or Explore the Recycle Bin to see the contents.

Click "Empty Recycle Bin" to complete the deletion process and remove files from your hard drive.


  • check You can send whole file folders to the Recycle Bin if you want, using the same procedures you would for a single file. The Recycle Bin can only store a limited amount of data, however, so you may be prompted to delete the entire folder.


  • close Always double-check the Recycle Bin when you are preparing to delete files to ensure that you have not sent the wrong files to the Recycle Bin.
  • close Computers are rarely equipped to tell you which files are critical and should not be deleted, so always know what you are deleting before you do.
  • close It's difficult to undelete a file without having a dedicated program.

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