Every time I go to delete files from the Recycle Bin on my PC, I get a confirmation window asking if I “really” want to delete the files or not. I do. That’s why I’m emptying the Recycle Bin. How can I stop this confirmation window appearing?
Believe it or not, the Recycle Bin (or “Trash” to many PC users) is one of the least heralded but most important features of your Windows PC. Without it, your hard drive would fill up and you’d be in a right pickle with a computer that wouldn’t work properly. But it’s surprising how most people don’t know all of the features and capabilities of the Trash (err, “Recycle Bin”) on a PC, one of which is the ability to stop that confirmation dialog from appearing.
More importantly, though, if you work with really big files, you can set a maximum size for everything in the Recycle Bin and even change it to be an immediate delete rather than a holding space for files that will eventually be deleted from the computer’s drive. These carry some risk, however, because while many fully deleted files can be recovered if you act quickly, it’s still a bit dicey compared to just having them move into the Recycle Bin and sit there for a few weeks while you ensure you didn’t actually need to retain them.
The most basic interaction with the Recycle Bin in Windows is to drag things into it and to right-click and choose “Empty Recycle Bin” from the resultant menu. Then this appears:
It’s not a bad idea to have this appear so you get a chance to reconsider if you really do want to permanently delete the file or files, but it’s also possible that clicking “Yes” becomes a rote action you do without thinking. The latter then defeats the purpose of the confirmation. You can prevent this from appearing, however, and I’ll get to that in a moment. Let’s start at the beginning, however.
THE MICROSOFT WINDOWS RECYCLE BIN
Your theme might change the icon, but at its most basic, the Recycle Bin just sits on your desktop without much fanfare at all…
You’ve seen it so many times you might not even notice it anymore, just knowing that there’s a spot on the lower right of your Desktop where you can drag and delete files and folders.
Double-click it, however, and you can open up the Recycle Bin and see what’s inside:
Notice it does automatic (and hidden) version tracking too, so I have two “Firefox” shortcuts that appear to have the same name, but different deletion dates. To restore any of the files or folders in the Recycle Bin, right-click on it and choose “Restore” from the menu:
You can also do what most people do and simply drag the file out of the File Explorer window and onto your Desktop, that also “restores” it from the Recycle Bin.
But that “•••” option along the top navbar within File Explorer has some handy options too, so it’s worth a click:
If you’ve gotten too darn enthused about moving things into the Recycle Bin, you can choose “Restore all items” and they’ll go right back to their original folders and locations on your PC. Handy! Want to delete everything except one file? Choose that file, then choose “Invert selection” from this menu, followed by “Empty Recycle Bin”.
This is the same menu that shows up if you right-click on the Recycle Bin icon itself, actually.
THE RECYCLE BIN PROPERTIES
Choose “Properties” to get to that deletion confirmation dialog.
This is one of those old school windows interface elements that show up occasionally and seem to date back to Windows 95 for their design. It’s also where all the cool features and options can be tweaked.
To start, if you want to manage your Recycle Bin so it doesn’t store 100GB of old files, you can change the value here. By default, it’s 5.2GB, as shown. You can also opt for “Don’t move files to the Recycle Bin. Remove files immediately when deleted.” if you want, though, again, I caution you to be very careful with that option.
Finally, you can check – or uncheck – the “Display delete confirmation dialog” window by changing the status of the checkbox at the bottom of this window.
Got it all set up as you prefer? Click “Apply” to ensure that the changes are reflected in your current Windows session, then click “OK” to close the Properties window. Done.
Oh, and if you right-click on the Recycle Bin icon itself, you’ll get a slightly different menu, though it does contain “Properties”, as promised:
Properties takes you to the Properties window, already shown, while “Show more options” produces yet another menu of options, one of which is… properties! And that’s it. Now you know quite a bit about your Recycle Bin.
Pro Tip: I’ve been writing about Windows since the beginning. While you’re here, please check out my extensive Windows help area for hundreds of other useful tutorials and how-to articles. Thanks!