It’s rare that the Recycle bin ever runs out of space. The space for the Recycle bin is allocated dynamically i.e., the Recycle bin grows to accommodate whatever file it is you’ve just deleted. The Recycle bin is considerably large by default which is why you won’t ever get an error when deleting files. Try deleting a few files that are more than 20 GB in size and you will realize that the Recycle bin can and does take up considerable space if it needs to.
SPOILER ALERT: Scroll down and watch the video tutorial at the end of this article.
You can change, or more precisely, limit the size of the Recycle bin. There’s a built-in setting that lets you do just that. You can choose to increase or decrease the size of the bin to whatever suits you, and your storage needs.
Recycle Bin Size
Right-click the Recycle bin on your desktop and select Properties from the context menu. By default, the Recycle bin stores deleted files in the C drive where Windows is installed and that’s where it consumes space however it can and will use other drives if it needs to.
In the Properties window, you will see a ‘Settings for selected location’ section where the default size of the bin will be given. You want to trim it down so that your Recycle bin doesn’t just become another place for files to live forever.
Trim it down to a size that works for you. For example, if you normally deal with files that are small in size e.g., images or documents, you can afford to have a fairly small Recycle bin. On the other hand, if you often delete large files like movies or Photoshop files, then you do need a reasonably large Recycle bin. Repeat this for all locations where the Recycle Bin stores deleted files.
The size of the Recycle bin is set dynamically; it will always be 5% of available free space. This means that unless you delete a file, the space for it is isn’t being consumed just yet. Limiting the size will not add more free space to your hard drive.
If you’re not in the habit of emptying your Recycle bin, but do not want it to be bloated with deleted files for too long, consider using Storage Sense on Windows 10. Additionally, if you don’t have a very large hard drive, or rather you have an SSD which isn’t affordable in larger sizes, you should also check out what folders are using up the most space and delete the ones you can.