How to Restore My Recycle Bin Icon

by Josh Michaels

Accidentally deleting your desktop recycle bin icon is as easy as one ill-placed click of the mouse. Without access to your recycle bin, it's impossible to view or restore deleted files, which can be less than ideal. The method for restoring the recycle bin icon to its place on the desktop varies by operating system. Performing the operation on Windows Vista and Windows 7 is relatively simple, but restoring the bin in Windows XP takes a few extra steps.

Windows Vista and Windows 7


Click the Windows icon in the lower-left-hand corner of the screen, then click \"Control Panel\" on the right-hand menu.


Make sure you are in \"Control Panel Home\" rather than \"Classic View.\"


Click \"Appearance and Personalization,\" then \"Personalization.\"


Locate \"Change desktop icons\" on the left-hand menu and click on it.


Mark the \"Recycle Bin\" check box, then \"OK.\" The bin will now reappear on the desktop.

Windows XP


Locate the \"Start\" icon in the lower-left-hand corner of the screen. Click it, then click \"Run.\" The \"Open\" box will appear.


Type \"regedit,\" then click \"OK.\"


Locate the registry key labeled \"HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Desktop\NameSpace.\" Right-click on it, point to \"New\" and click on \"Key.\"


Type in \"{645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}\" in the field that appears and hit the \"Enter\" key on your keyboard. This creates a new registry key, which is a cell of information used by your operating system. In this case, it is necessary to create a registry key in order to make the Recycle Bin function correctly.


Double-click \"(Default)\" in the right-hand pane. The \"Edit String\" dialogue box will appear.


Locate the \"Value data\" box. Type in \"Recycle Bin\" and click \"OK.\"


Close out the Registry Editor and check your desktop for the recycle bin icon.


  • check In the event that the standard methods don't work, Microsoft offers additional solutions and a \"Fix It\" wizard on its website.


  • close Be careful not to delete any registry keys at any point in the process. Doing so could cause the operating system or individual programs to lose functionality.

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About the Author

A professional copywriter and editor since 1997, Josh Michaels has contributed to the identities of such brands as The Walt Disney Company, Sun Microsystems, and 20th Century Fox. He holds a B.F.A. from New York University.

Photo Credits

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