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Windows 10 Deleted Items Missing from Recycle Bin (EXPERT FIX)

Files that are deleted on Windows 10 go to the Recycle Bin. The Recycle Bin is a dedicated location where deleted items live. They remain there until a user chooses to empty the bin. The files are not deleted automatically. They can be removed from the bin selectively, and they can be restored at any time.

Windows 10 Deleted Items Missing from Recycle Bin

Windows 10 deleted items are not in Recycle Bin

When you delete a file, it goes to the Recycle Bin. This is how file deletion works on Windows 10 and all older versions of Windows (98, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8/8.1). The behavior has not changed in years but there are some exceptions to this.

Files, when deleted, will not be sent to the Recycle Bin if one of the following holds true.

  • The user deleted the file by pressing Shift+Delete.
  • The use deleted a file from Command Prompt.
  • The deleted file was exceptionally large in size and could not fit in the Recycle Bin.
  • The file was deleted from a flash storage device e.g. an SD card
  • The Recycle Bin was full when the file was deleted. 

1. Recover deleted file

If you’ve deleted files and they aren’t in the Recycle Bin, there is a small chance you can recover them. If you haven’t restarted the system after deleting files, your chances of recovering the file will be better.

  1. Download the Windows File Recovery tool from the Microsoft Store.
  2. Open Command Prompt with admin rights.
  3. Run this command to recover the file(s) you deleted. 
winfr source-drive: destination-folder /n

Note: The destination folder should NOT be on the same drive as the Source drive. Run the Help command to learn more about file recovery with this tool or read about it here.

2. Send deleted files to Recycle Bin

Windows 10 allows users to delete files without sending them to the Recycle Bin. If you’d like to start sending files to the Recycle Bin, you need to enable it.

  1. Right-click the Recycle Bin on the desktop and select Properties from the context menu.
  2. Uncheck the ‘Don’t move files to the Recycle Bin’ option.
  3. Click Apply and then OK.
  4. All files that you delete from this point forward will be sent to the Recycle Bin.

3. Make the Recycle Bin bigger

If you often run out of space on the Recycle Bin, you should increase its size. You should know that the Recycle Bin’s size will cut into the free storage space on your system. On devices with low storage e.g. a Surface tablet, this solution may not be practical.

  1. Right-click the Recycle Bin on the desktop and select Properties from the context menu.
  2. Under Settings for selected location, select Custom Size.
  3. Enter a new bigger size for the Recycle bin.
  4. Click Apply and then OK.

4. Reset the Recycle Bin

Your Recycle Bin may have run into problems and you can reset it to get it working normally again.

  1. Open Command Prompt with admin rights.
  2. Run the following command to reset the Recycle Bin.
rd /s /q C:$Recycle.bin
  1. Restart the system.

5. Check scripts and automation tasks

Many users run scripts or set up automated tasks to regularly delete files from the Recycle Bin. This takes the burden of the task away from the user but it may be the reason your files aren’t showing in Recycle Bin. If you have a script or automation task set up to manage the Recycle Bin, disable it and try deleting files.

Conclusion

The Recycle Bin is a reliable feature and storing files in it gives you an easy way to restore them if you ever need a deleted file or if you’ve deleted a file by accident. It’s always a good idea to send deleted files to the Recycle Bin first, and to purge them later after a certain time has passed.

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