Delete and recover files with this Windows tool
One of Windows’ most powerful and effective features, the Recycle Bin allows files and folders to be removed temporarily before they are deleted for good. To make the most of the bin, it is worth spending a bit of time first understanding exactly how it works and setting it up in a way that best suits the size and number of hard disks that are attached to the PC. Here is how to master the Recycle Bin in Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.
No matter which version of Windows is being used, the Recycle Bin works in pretty much the same way – as a temporary storage area for files and folders that are no longer required. To remove a file or folder pick it up with the mouse pointer and drag it over the Recycle Bin icon on the Windows Desktop so the bin is highlighted and then let go of the mouse button. Alternatively, right-click on a file or folder and choose Delete from the pop-up menu.
This won’t actually remove the file or folder from your computer (that is why it is called ‘Recycle Bin’ and not ‘Shredder’ or something similar). It will merely be put into the bin where it will sit, still using up storage, even though it will not be visible in Windows Explorer any more. To remove something completely it is necessary to right-click on the Recycle Bin icon and choose Empty Recycle Bin. This will delete everything that is currently stored in the bin, so it is important to be sure before choosing this option.
That is obviously a pretty blunt instrument, so Windows also allows items to be removed individually from the Recycle Bin. Try this – make sure there is something in the bin to start with and then double-click the Recycle Bin icon on the Desktop. The bin opens like any other folder in Window Explorer. It is now possible to select individual files and folders, then right-click on them and choose Delete from the pop-up menu. This time, they will be removed from the bin and deleted permanently from the PC.
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