Windows 10 comes with a level of customization features that we haven’t seen in many other versions of the operating system. Something completely new in this version of Windows is a collection of settings exclusive to the Recycle Bin.
Up until Windows 8, the Recycle Bin is just a container for your deleted files. In Windows 10, we can make changes to the Recycle Bin by making it behave in several new and useful ways.
Many people know that you need to periodically empty the trash so that it does not take up precious disk space. However, you have the option to change the maximum size of the recycle bin, set the recycle bin to empty automatically after a few days, or bypass the recycle bin entirely to permanently delete any discarded files.
In this article, we’ll explain how to do each of these three steps on any Windows 10 computer.
How to change the maximum cart size
How to change the maximum size of the Recycle Bin
The default recycle bin provides storage space for about 5% of the total disk volume size. With this in mind, let’s say you have allocated 500 GB of space for your volume. For this volume, the Recycle Bin will automatically start to permanently delete the oldest files when just over 25 GB of space is used up.
For the vast majority of users, 5% is more than enough space in the shopping cart. However, you might find yourself in the middle of a cleanup session caused by OCD when you need to be extra careful so that whatever you delete doesn’t go away forever. In this case, you can change the maximum basket size.
To do this, simply right-click on the trash can icon on your desktop. If you don’t have an icon on your desktop, look for “desktop icons” in Windows and click on “Themes and related settings.” In this window, scroll down to Desktop Icon Settings.
Here you can restore the icon to your desktop.
In the Properties window for the recycle bin, you can set your own maximum size for each volume.
By selecting the Custom Size radio button, you can enter the maximum size, in megabytes, that the Recycle Bin can grow to before files are permanently deleted.
How to bypass the trash and delete files permanently
How to bypass recycle bin and permanently delete files
If the recycle bin is useless in your workflow, you can set the default action to delete files to bypass the recycle bin completely and delete permanently.
You can do this from the same Properties menu by right-clicking on the trash can icon.
By choosing â€œDo not move files to trash. Delete files immediately after deleting. ” radio, Windows will do just that.
How to make the trash can delete files after a few days
How to make the recycle bin delete files after a number of days
One of the Windows 10 Recycle Bin features that everyone can benefit from is cleaning up Windows after themselves. This feature is built into Storage Sense in Windows 10 to help users clean their drives automatically. This is comparable to Windows’ own solution for something like CCleaner (which we can no longer recommend).
To start using Storage Sense to free up space in your Trash after a few days, press Windows Key + I to open Windows Settings. From there click on System. In this window, click Storage in the left menu. After that, you should be in a window that looks like this:
Here, click “Change how space is automatically reclaimed.”
In this window, you will see a drop-down list corresponding to the option “Remove files from the trash if they were more there.” The following options are available:
- 1 day
- 14 days
- 30 days
- 60 days
Using the drop-down list to select one of these options will save this change in your Storage Sense settings. This change will be applied retroactively, so if you have files that have been stored in your recycle bin for 80 days and have selected Storage Sense to delete them after 60 days, they will be deleted after applying this change.
While keeping the Recycle Bin up and running is as easy as a few clicks, we understand that Windows 10 offers users settings that help automate and better control the behavior of one of the longest and most important parts of the operating system. These three simple settings are noteworthy and only take a few seconds of your time!
If you’d like to learn more about ways to clean your Windows 10 PC, be sure to check out our article on running Disk Cleanup in Windows 10.