How to change Recycle Bin settings on Windows 11

Windows 11 Recycle Bin settings
Windows 11 Recycle Bin settings (Image credit: Windows Central)

On Windows 11, when you delete files, they are not removed immediately from the drive. Instead, they are marked for deletion and stored in the Recycle Bin in case you need the files back.

The only problem is that files in the Recycle Bin aren't kept forever. Depending on the drive (partition) size, Windows 11 will reserve a small percentage to store deleted files. As the space fills up, the system will begin removing the oldest files to free up space for files, limiting the number of files you can restore.

However, it's possible to change the settings to allow Recycle Bin to store more (or fewer) deleted files. You can even specify to skip the Recycle Bin altogether when getting rid of a file, and you can enable a confirmation prompt to minimize the times you delete files accidentally.

In this Windows 11 guide, we will walk you through the steps to manage the Recycle Bin settings on your computer.

How to change Recycle Bin reserved storage on Windows 11

To specify the amount of space Recycle Bin can use before deleting files completely, use these steps:

  1. Use the Windows key + D keyboard shortcut to see the desktop icons.Quick tip: If you don't see any items, right-click the desktop, select View, and click on Show desktop icons.
  2. Right-click the Recycle Bin icon and select the Properties option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Select the Local Disk (C:) location.
  2. Choose the Custom size option.
  3. Use the Maximum size setting to specify the amount of space the Recycle Bin should use in megabytes.Quick note: 1GB is equal to 1,024MB, which means if you want to reserve 50GB, you need to specify 51,200 megabytes.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Apply button.
  2. Click the OK button.

Once you complete the steps, the Recycle Bin will store deleted files until it reaches the maximum capacity you specify. Then it will start deleting files permanently from the oldest to the newest.

Although you can configure Recycle Bin on the main drive as well as on the secondary drive, removable drives do not support this feature.

How to delete files without Recycle Bin on Windows 11

To skip the Recycle Bin to delete files immediately, use these steps:

  1. Use the Windows key + D keyboard shortcut to see the desktop icons.Quick tip: If you don't see any items, right-click the desktop, select View, and click on Show desktop icons.
  2. Right-click the Recycle Bin icon and select the Properties option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Select the Don't move files to the Recycle Bin. Remove files immediately when deleted option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Apply button.
  2. Click the OK button.

After you complete the steps, files that you delete manually will be removed immediately, skipping the Recycle Bin on Windows 11.

If you don't want to enable this feature, you can press the Shift key while deleting a file to skip the Recycle Bin.

How to display dialog before deleting files on Windows 11

Although you can always restore files from the Recycle Bin, if you usually delete files by accident, you can enable an option to display a confirmation dialog before deletion.

To disable confirmation before deleting files to the Recycle Bin, use these steps:

  1. Use the Windows key + D keyboard shortcut to see the desktop icons.Quick tip: If you don't see any items, right-click the desktop, select View, and click on Show desktop icons.
  2. Right-click the Recycle Bin icon and select the Properties option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Select the Display delete confirmation dialog option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Apply button.
  2. Click the OK button.

Once you complete the steps, you'll see a prompt before sending the file to the Recycle Bin when deleting a file.

More Windows resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10 and Windows 11, visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

1 Comment
  • "51200 megabytes". No. Mebibyte. That's what windows uses. 1000 megabytes are in 1 gigabyte. 1024 Mebibyte are in 1 Gibibyte. Windows just does not use the correct abreviations (MiB) in windows..it lists Mebibytes as MB