How to Remove Recycle Bin from the Windows 10 Desktop

The Recycle Bin has been a fixture of the Windows desktop since the launch of Windows 95 more than 20 years ago. For many users, the Recycle Bin’s presence on the desktop provides a quick way to view and restore deleted files, or to send files to their doom by emptying it.

How to Remove Recycle Bin from the Windows 10 Desktop

But not every user wants or needs the Recycle Bin on their desktop, perhaps because they’ve disabled its functionality in Windows, or because they prefer a clean desktop with minimal or no icons. If you find yourself in this latter category of users, here’s how you can remove the Recycle Bin icon from the desktop in Windows 10.

Removing the Recycle Bin from the Windows 10 Desktop

  1. To get started, right-click on the desktop and choose Personalize. shortcut menu
  2. Then, select Themes from the list of subsections on the left. Personalization menu
  3. Next, click on Desktop icon settings on the right-side of the window. Themes menu
  4. Another new window, labeled Desktop Icon Settings, will appear. In the Desktop Icons section at the top of the window, you’ll see checkboxes for all of the familiar Windows system icons. In a typical Windows 10 installation, only Recycle Bin will be checked. Desktop Icon Settings 2
  5. Go ahead and uncheck the box next to Recycle Bin and then click Apply at the bottom of the window to hide the Recycle Bin from your Windows 10 desktop. You’ll see that the Recycle Bin icon instantly disappears. Desktop Icon Settings

Note that hiding the Recycle Bin icon doesn’t disable or change the Recycle Bin functionality in Windows 10. The Recycle Bin will still exist in the background and catch your deleted files according to your size and duration preferences.

Accessing the Recycle Bin

Now that you’ve removed it from your desktop, you’re probably wondering how you can access it. Let’s go over that now.

  1. To access or empty the Recycle Bin after hiding its icon on your desktop, launch a new File Explorer window and then type “Recycle Bin” into the File Explorer address bar. This will take you directly to the Recycle Bin and show you any files within.
recycle bin file explorer

Alternatively, you can reverse the steps above to temporarily restore the Recycle Bin icon, then right-click on it and choose Pin to Start. This will create a Recycle Bin tile in your Windows 10 Start Menu.

windows 10 recycle bin pin to start

Desktop Icon Removal

As you’ve now seen, removing the Recycle Bin from your Windows 10 desktop is fairly straight forward.

Did you run into any problems removing the Recycle Bin? Do you know of another solution? Share your thoughts below.

3 thoughts on “How to Remove Recycle Bin from the Windows 10 Desktop”

Someone says:
Have you tried re-enabling the recycle bin icon from the settings?
L. Cleveland Major says:
Just did all the things you described, and double checked to see that each step was followed exactly. The recycle bin is not showing at all. I have tried every method I’ve found in my searches online, to no avail. I think the recycle bin got deleted from my hard drive completely. All I have found on my machine in all my searches is what appears to be an installer, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen one for the recycle bin. I thought it was supposed to be a default feature for all windows operating systems.
What should I do?
TekRevue says:
This article discusses how to hide the Recycle Bin, but your comment suggests you are trying to get the Recycle Bin back. Is that correct? Have you tried navigating directly to the Recycle Bin via File Explorer?
L. Cleveland Major says:
Indeed I have, and File Explorer could not find it. I have two machines running Windows 10, and only one has the recycle bin accessible or even able to be found. My Laptop has the recycle bin where it always has been since it was running Windows 7. My tower is my latest aquisition, and it had Windows 10 on it when I got it. But the recycle bin cannot be found on it no matter which method I follow to do so. I think it must not be on that machine at all.
TekRevue says:
It sounds like the Windows installation is corrupted, and you may want to consider using Windows 10's built-in reinstallation feature. You'll have the option to "refresh" the Windows installation while keeping your data, but I'd recommend the "Remove everything and reinstall Windows" path. You'll need to manually back up all of your data first, and then follow the instructions in the link above which will wipe the Windows installation and install a fresh copy from scratch.
L. Cleveland Major says:
OK, first and foremost, the files backup option must be off the table, as my installed apps from GOTD (Give Away Of the Day) cannot be reinstalled after the date they were originally installed. Several of those are important to my workflow on that machine, and I do not wish to lose use of them. I got them because I needed them, and as they were given away free for one day only, and I have no funds for buying them after the give away day, I would no longer have use of them. Also my external is now defunct, having ceased to operated correctly more than a year ago.
Second, it seems to me that if the installation of Windows 10 was corrupted, it would affect more than just the recycle bin. I just does not seem likely that only the recycle bin would be corrupted, when every other function of the OS is working as expected. In fact, I have practically no other issues with Windows 10 on that machine. As the recycle bin occupies just a few kilobytes on the hard drive, it seems like overkill to backup everything on that machine and do a full wipe and reinstall of Windows 10.
Third, surely there is a way to get an installer that will install the recycle bin. As it is not a very large app, it would of course take just seconds to install. The only other option would be to contact Microsoft and ask that they provide information on how to get the recycle bin back. Getting answers from them is (in my experience) a long wait.
There is the option of going back to Windows 7 on that machine, but I really don’t want to. I want both of my machines running the same OS, to keep compatibility between them at its best possible.
TekRevue says:
The Recycle Bin is not an “app” that can be installed or uninstalled. It’s a unique collaboration between the Explorer.exe process and the Windows.RecycleBin shell to track and store the metadata of files that have been marked for deletion. The reason I think your Windows installation has an issue is that Explorer.exe is the core process for the entire Windows GUI experience, and it’s not possible under any Windows configuration to “uninstall” the Recycle Bin (it can be hidden or “turned off” by setting its size to zero, but it can’t be uninstalled and even when turned off is still visible in File Explorer).
Therefore, if your assessment and description of the situation is accurate, something in the core Windows process on your PC is wrong, which suggests the existence of other issues that occurred during the upgrade or installation, even if those issues haven’t yet been noticeable. Windows is incredibly complex, and a corrupted or misconfigured file will not necessarily bring the system down or be overtly noticeable unless you were fully engaged with every single feature in the operating system.
You’re free to do, or not do, anything you want. But if you’ve truly tried all of the suggested tips as you indicate and you can’t find or navigate to the Recycle Bin even in File Explorer, then there’s no simple way to just “reinstall” the Recycle Bin. You could try a Windows Refresh, which is supposed to keep your files intact while fixing only the Windows system files, but it’s not guaranteed to fix the problem nor leave all of your files and apps unaffected.
L. Cleveland Major says:
I have another external, but cannot find the power cord for it. It is a 1TB External Hard Drive, and the power transformer and cord for it has gone missing. It is not one that pulls it’s power through the USB connection, although I wish it was. I could burn to disk, which I have already done, but as for making a recovery disk that can store everything, I find it to be a bit unreliable. Burning disks often corrupts the data. Even when the burner does the verification and reports that it was successful, retrieving the data later will often not work. I often burn three of everything because of this, and sometimes even that is not enough. Not sure if that is a software problem, a disk problem, or the burner itself. Thing is that is how my stuff is backed up at this time. I just need to do it for the computer in question. Still the GOTD software would be lost, and I’m not sure I can find good replacements.
Mitch says:
Well check if there are any COMMENTS, if there are, then check if they say, “Fake!” or “Virus! DO NOT INSTALL”. If you can’t find any comments then DON’T install it.

Comments are closed.

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