How to Improve the Recycle Bin Performance in Windows 10


The Recycle Bin has been a part of Windows operating systems since the very early days of the program. It’s such a mainstay that it’s easy to overlook. We just let it do its thing. What you may not know is that there are some settings for the Recycle Bin that you can tweak for a better experience.

Whenever you delete a file on your Windows machine, that file is not immediately removed from the system. Instead, it goes to the Recycle bin where it sits until you delete it permanently. If you don’t empty the Recycle Bin, it will hold all the files until the bin has reached its maximum capacity, then will empty the oldest files first. This process gives you time to go back and recover files you may have deleted accidentally or changed your mind about.

1. Change the Recycle Bin’s Maximum Size

The size of the Recycle Bin varies from computer to computer. It roughly takes up about 5% of the total volume. So a machine with 1 TB (~930 GB usable) of space will end up with a recycle bin size of about 46 GB.

Each drive on your machine has a separate Recycle bin. However, all those bins are combined into one view, so when you look at your desktop Recycle bin, you will see all the files you have deleted, no matter which drive you stored them on.

The default size will be sufficient for most of you, but if you have a computer with a drive size of 2TB of files that you rarely delete, you may not want to have almost 100 GB of space reserved for the Recycle Bin.


To change the size of the Recycle Bin, open the Recycle Bin’s properties by right-clicking on your desktop icon and selecting “Properties.” On this screen you will see each of your volumes listed. If you only have one, then that is all you will see. Choose the drive you want to configure. Change the size of the drive by typing a specific number of MB into the custom size field.

2. Delete Files Immediately without Using the Recycle Bin

Perhaps you want to bypass the Recycle Bin and delete files immediately. This could come in handy if you’re going to remove a large number of files that you are sure you will never need again. Doing this will not affect the files already in the bin. Those files will remain where they are, and the oldest ones will not be deleted permanently.

To activate this option, click on the radio button that says “Don’t move files to the Recycle Bin.”


For most users, doing this is not a good option, but if you decide to use it, you should check the box to enable a dialog box to confirm your choice, so you don’t accidentally delete something you need later.

3. Set Recycle Bin to Delete Files After a Set Time

Windows 10 has added a feature called Storage Sense. Storage sense helps you by freeing up space on your drive automatically. One of the options in this feature allows you to enable automatic deletion of files from the Recycle Bin once they have been there for a certain amount of time.

To find Storage Sense, you need to open your settings and select Storage.


Click on the option “Change how we free up space automatically.” In this area you can click on the dropdown box to change the amount of time the files stay in the Recycle Bin.


These suggestions for using your Recycle Bin can help you make it work the way you need it to.

Tracey Rosenberger
Tracey Rosenberger

Tracey Rosenberger spent 26 years teaching elementary students, using technology to enhance learning. Now she's excited to share helpful technology with teachers and everyone else who sees tech as intimidating.

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