How-To Geek

Resize the Recycle Bin in XP

If your hard drive is short on space you might want to consider reducing the size of your Recycle Bin. By default Windows XP reserves 10% of your hard drive for the bin. You can save up to 3GB of space if you resize a bin to 1% on a 40GB hard drive. You can resize individual drive or all of them globally.

Before starting, I would recommend emptying the bin first. (Of course you should verify what you are emptying first.) You may also want to create a Restore Point before applying this or any system changes.

Right click on the Recycle Bin icon and select Properties.


From the Recycle Bin Properties screen you can choose to configure drives independently or Globally by setting the same size for all drives. Here you can also choose to remove files immediately and not put them in the Recycle Bin at all. I wouldn’t recommend that option however.


In this instance since I have multiple drives of various sizes I will choose to configure each drive separately. Just select the tab for each drive and move the slider to accommodate the percentage of space you wish to use.


Once you have finished resizing click Apply and OK.


The size you choose is user specific. You may want to increase the size of the Recycle Bin or turn it off completely.

At work you might want to leave the settings as they are in case you unintentionally recycle an important report your boss needs 5 months later. The nice thing is that if your file is still in the Recycle Bin you can easily restore it.

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 04/19/07

Comments (7)

  1. prabal

    I got the solution of my complex problem from you.Simply this gr8 among the others.

  2. Pavel

    Hi anyonecan help? When I delete a fileit gets wipedout beforebeing put into recycle bin. I have opened up the properties but I can not untick the “do not move files into the recycle bin”. However I can do it in safe mode. Any ideas?/

    Thanks a lot


  3. tony riley

    I’m using ubuntu gusty 7.10: My problem is the Mid Browser will not load. I can see it in the panel trying to load but never does can you help me with this dilemma? I have reinstall and remove the program and the results was still the same. any suggesting? By the way you have a great website I use it always thanks so much.

  4. Phoenix

    If you are setting a drive separately, make sure you have the “”Configure drives independantly” button pressed, and then click on the tab for that drive. If you’re putting them all the same, make sure you have “Use one setting for all drives” set, and change it on the same tab.

  5. marilyn

    I’m running xp. My recycle bin onmy new computer seems to empty every time I reboot. That never happened on my other computers with XP. What could be causing this? Thank you.

  6. neil

    can anyone help i always (( $RECYCLE.BIN))
    please help!!!

  7. Sporkinator

    This doesn’t work. I changed the slider to 100% and still cannot store a 4 GB file in the recycle bin. I have an 80 GB hard drive.

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