How to Disable the Recycle Bin in Windows 8.1

The Recycle Bin has long been a presence within the Windows operating system despite all of the changes that the OS has gone through over the years.

The little Microsoft app is there for a very good reason. It has saved almost every user at some point over the course of its existence. It does so by providing a backup plan for the files you delete – just in case you accidentally remove something important.

In other words, this is something you want to have around to cover your back in case you accidentally do something stupid.

However, you can bypass this fail-safe, or even completely disable it, and we’re going to show you the steps to do so.

This one is easy. Locate the Recycle Bin on your desktop, right-click on it and select “Properties.” This will pop up a small box that contains a minimum of options, so the one you need is fairly easy to spot (it’s one option above the bottom).


Click the radio button that says “Don’t move files to the Recycle Bin. Remove files immediately when deleted.”

This will remain in effect as long as you leave the option enabled. It is also drive exclusive, so you can enable it for the C drive, but not the E drive (for example).

If it’s for just one file that you wish to bypass the Recycle Bin, then you can hold down the “Shift” key while pressing the “Delete” button, saving yourself the task of enabling this.

The steps above allow you to disable the functionality of the Recycle Bin, but the icon will remain on your desktop, almost mocking you. If you wish to make this process complete and remove that as well, then there are other steps that need to be followed.

Head to the desktop and right-click on any blank area of it, then choose “Personalize.” This will open a dialogue box within the Control Panel. On the left side you’ll spot a couple of items – “Change desktop icons” is the one you’ll wish to tap on.


The box that pops up serves a couple of useful functions. It allows the user to change the icon that is displayed for various Windows options. But it also controls what is displayed on the desktop. For instance, you can add “Computer” or “Control Panel” to your desktop.


Only one of the options shown is enabled by default in Windows 8.1, and that is the Recycle Bin. Uncheck the box next to it, click on the “Apply” button and then choose “OK” to finish things off.

The Recycle Bin isn’t really gone from your computer after all of this; you can always bring it back by reversing the above processes. However, it has been disabled and hidden away from view.

We don’t necessarily recommend this, as the app serves as a fail-safe for recovering files that have been deleted by accident, and that is a handy thing to have around. But, if you’re sure this is the route you wish to follow, now you know how.