How to Open Recycle Bins

By Brad Chacos

The Windows Recycle Bin acts as the last line of defense against overzealous deletion sprees. Whenever you delete a file, Windows transfers it to the Recycle Bin, where it sits in a kind of limbo, waiting for you to either restore the file to its original location or to permanently delete it by emptying the recycle bin. This gives you a second chance to recover a file you deleted in haste. Opening the Recycle Bin is straightforward unless you've hidden the icon.

Minimize or close any open windows until the desktop appears on the screen. Look for the Recycle Bin icon.

Double-click on the Recycle Bin icon to open it one way.

Right-click on the Recycle Bin and click "Open" in the context menu to open it another way.

Right-click on the Recycle Bin and click "Explore" to open it a third way, using the same Windows Explorer interface used when browsing your hard drive. The Recycle Bin's empty and restore functions are not listed as button options in this view, but are still accessible using the toolbar and right-click menus.

Restore the Recycle Bin icon if it doesn't appear on your desktop. Right-click on an empty portion of the desktop and select "Personalize" from the menu. Choose the "Change Desktop Icons" selection in the left pane of the window, then check the box next to the Recycle Bin option. Press "OK" to save the change, and return the Bin to your desktop.