Tip of the Day: Permanently Delete a File

Where’s the Recycle Bin on My USB Drive?

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I had a file on a USB pen drive I accidentally deleted. I went to the Recycle Bin folder to recover it. But the file was not there. Luckily the file was not very important. I have experimented with deleting files on the USB pen drive and it appears the deleted files do not go to the Recycle Bin. Where do the files go? Is it possible to undo a delete from a USB pen drive?

As you’ve found out, there’s not always a Recycle Bin. I’ve also seen it be present but go unused.

It’s confusing and surprising, but the Recycle Bin seems to be used inconsistently across versions of Windows, at least
when it comes to what Windows considers to be a “removable” device.

Read moreWhere’s the Recycle Bin on My USB Drive?

How do I fix the recycle bin?

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My Recycle Bin is full of items like “HTML” and “gif” and I cannot empty it even though I once gave it 12 hours to populate the list and do so. It happened when I attempted to delete unnecessary photos and apparently went overboard. Right clicking won’t work. I can delete one at a time but there are 6,864 of them. I have searched the internet and the list of your subjects to no avail. I believe the only way to fix the Recycle Bin is to to remove the Bin entirely and rebuild it in the Registry.

The good news is that the registry is not involved.

More good news is that we can easily delete the entire Recycle Bin. In fact, it’s probably faster to delete the Recycle Bin than it is to empty it, when it’s that full.

The bad news is that if you want to recover anything currently in the Recycle Bin, you’ll need to do that manually, one at a time, before you start.

Read moreHow do I fix the recycle bin?

Footnotes & references

1: Prior to Windows 8, click on the Tools menu, then Folder options…..

2: Older versions of Windows and file systems have also used the names RECYCLER and RECYCLED.