How To Show The Windows 7 Recycle Bin In Windows Explorer

I gave my wife my laptop this weekend as she’s about to become a home worker, and I decided it was only fair that she had the best laptop to use rather than our old one which is on its last legs. It’s running Windows 7 Ultimate and it will be my wife’s first real exposure to Windows 7, so I started preparing myself for lots of new user questions.

Imagine my surprise when her first question was ‘Why can’t I see the recycle bin in Windows 7 Explorer anymore?‘.  Her question surprised me as I hadn’t noticed previously that it was missing.  After experimenting, I realised that Windows 7 has introduced some new folder options in an attempt to simplify Windows Explorer.

folderoptionsSome folders, including the Recycle bin and Control Panel are hidden by default in Windows 7 Explorer.  To reveal them:

  • type ‘folder options’ in the Start menu search box
  • check the ‘show all folders’ option in the screenshot above

I’m not sure why Microsoft have added this option to Windows 7, as I’m sure most users would prefer to see the Recycle Bin.

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12 Responses to How To Show The Windows 7 Recycle Bin In Windows Explorer

  1. filip_c August 10, 2009 at 9:41 am #

    “show all folders’ – if enabled – can lead to quite a mess in the explorer, if there are many hard disks, partitions or network drives. i think that the “Favorites” list is the cleaner aproach, since you can add links to any folder – even Recyle Bin.

  2. Vic Marshall April 14, 2010 at 9:17 am #

    Thank you for the instant tip about making the Recycle Bin visible in Windows 7. I use Windows Explorer as my universal map when computing (no GPS needed) & I want the manual detail + the choice to delete files manually from the Bin when necessary.

    • Saabage August 17, 2010 at 4:47 pm #

      try something called ‘eraser’ it’s free and supplies full and complete data erasure including the recycle bin.

      • Vuzman October 1, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

        That application actually wipes the data (i.e. overwrites it to make it irretrievable), rather than just delete it (to free up space).

        Btw, overwriting data several times is unnecessary and useless… It’s a myth that overwritten data can be retrieved.

  3. Annie24010 July 9, 2010 at 9:28 am #

    OMG! thank you! i was having a meltdown trying to find it. I freed up 11 GB by emptying it!!

  4. AdvancedPCs September 24, 2010 at 4:25 am #

    You can also right-click on an empty space below the [existing] folders from within Explorer and simply left-click “show all folders”. No need to go into folder options/properties etc.

  5. jg09 September 27, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    search for “show or hide common icons on the desktop” in the start search bar. Click on it, and then click on “recycle bin”. BAM! recycle bin shortcut on your desktop, which works just like the recycle bins in older versions of windows.

    • vuzman October 1, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

      I’m guessing most people don’t want the Recycle bin on their desktop…

  6. Puppygirl_shu November 14, 2010 at 4:02 am #

    i accidentally deleted a folder at my computer’s desktop but the thing is when i got to the recycle bin it was empty!!!It says that the recycle bin is empty!!!I wasn’t even able to retrieve my project files!!!! Why Is this???!!!!

  7. Vil77i January 29, 2011 at 7:17 am #

    Without having to show all folders, you can add only recycle bin as follows:

    1. Open Recycle Bin (as a folder)
    2. With right mouseclick on top of the ‘Favorites’ in folder bar, select ‘Add current location to Favorites’

  8. CityGirl70 March 26, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    Just right click anywhere on your desktop and choose VIEW then choose SHOW DESKTOP ICONS – Then delete the shortcuts you dont want showing, shortcuts will have an arrow on the bottom left of the icon. It will aslo say ” Are you sure you want to delete this shortcut?” when you go to delete it. Dont delete items that are not shortcuts.

  9. Anon January 7, 2012 at 6:05 am #

    Do you not love your wife?  If you do love her why on earth would you want to subject her to the abject torture that is Windows 7?!  Have some humanity!!!

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