How to Restore a Lost Recycle Bin

Written by anne mullenniex Google
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How to Restore a Lost Recycle Bin
Recover your Recycle bin icon in Windows. (Wire Dustbin image by Julie F from

What a surprise! Instead of emptying the Recycle bin on your desktop as you intended, you just deleted the Recycle bin itself. How do you get it back? Luckily, the solution is simple, whether you use Windows XP or Vista. You can recover your Recycle bin icon through the "Control Panel" or "Personalize" desktop option.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Right-click on your desktop and go to "Personalize."

  2. 2

    On the left sidebar of the page that opens, click "Change Desktop Icons."

  3. 3

    Click "Restore Default" in the "Desktop Icon Settings" window that opens. (Or just select the Recycle Bin check box).

  4. 4

    Click "OK," close all programs and restart your machine.

  1. 1

    Go to "Properties" from the desktop.

  2. 2

    Click "Desktop" from the new window that opens, and then click "Customize Desktop."

  3. 3

    Check the box by the Recycle bin (full) icon, and click "Restore default." Then check the box by the Recycle bin (empty) icon, and click "Restore default."

  4. 4

    Click "OK" and reboot your machine.

Tips and warnings

  • Microsoft tells you to go to Start> Control Panel> Appearance and Personalization> Personalisation, but right-clicking on "Desktop" and selecting "Personalize" is a much faster route to get to the same place.
  • Deleting the Recycle bin icon is a common problem in Vista since it provides the option to delete when you right-click to empty the Recycle bin. The "Delete" option can be hidden if you want to avoid this problem in the future (see Resources). Windows 7 has removed the "Delete" option.

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