Windows Recycle Bin Secrets

What You Never Knew About the Recycle Bin

We all know that trash wastebasket-like icon where all the deleted stuff goes, right? However, there are quite a few things about this temporary storage that allows us to undelete deleted files that most folks don’t know. Basic knowledge about the Recycle Bin is that it lets the user recover files that were removed from the system.


In 1982 during Apple Lisa development a small icon in the form of a waste container was developed. The developers named it, just as you guessed, the Wastebasket. So this really was the origin of the modern day Recycle Bin but it was not until 1995 that Windows used the term Recycle Bin for its trash system. Earlier Microsoft’s concept of the Recycle Bin was called Sentry whereby deleted files would be sent to the root of the drive to a hidden SENTRY folder.


The Recycle Bin is a temporary storage for files deleted by the user from the file manager. However, it only stores files that are removed from the computer’s hard drives. Data from removable media and from network drives does not find its way into the Recycle Bin.

For the deleted file to be stored in the Recycle Bin, it has to be removed through Windows Explorer. Deleting a file through command prompt deletes it forever. This is the fate that also befalls files that are deleted using operating system APIs and applications besides Windows Explorer.

You can adjust the amount of deleted files that can be stored in the Recycle Bin. The Recycle Bin has a setting via which one can configure the capacity within it. This can be set to any value between 0 to 100% of the drive space. When the Recycle Bin fills to capacity, older files are progressively deleted to create room for newly deleted files.