Restore or Restore Missing Recycle Bin Icon in Windows Vista, 7, 8 / Windows Vista

Performed some spring cleaning on your computer and accidentally deleted the Trash icon in Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8? If your Trash icon is missing in Windows, there is a simple way you can get it back without having to hack the registry or anything like that.

So without further ado, this is how you will get your Recycle Bin icon back in Windows if you delete it or delete it by accident.

Windows Vista

First, right click on Desktop and choose Personalized. In the dialog on the right hand side, there should be an option called Change desktop icons.

On the Change Desktop Icons dialog, go ahead and check Garbage can box to add it back to your desktop. You will notice that there is a full Recycle Bin and an empty Trash icon.

If you click Apply, your icon will be back on the desktop. However, there can be an issue for some people where the Recycle Bin keeps showing full or empty and doesn’t change depending on whether something is added or removed from the recycle bin. It’s almost like Windows Vista gets confused and just uses an icon instead of switching back and forth.

If you are having this problem where the trash icon doesn’t change to fully reflect Google and is empty, then you need to check the Trash icon first as shown above. Then go ahead and left click on the full Trash icon and click Change icon. Select the highlighted icon, which should be the full Trash icon. Do the same with the empty Trash icon and go ahead and click Application.

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The Trash icon will now be on your desktop and will automatically update based on whether there is data in the trash.

Windows 7 & 8

In Windows 7, the process is a bit different to restore your trash icon. First, click Start and then type in desktop icons. Go ahead and click Show or hide common icons on the desktop.

This will bring up the same dialog box as in Windows Vista, where you just have to check the Recycle Bin to get it back to your desktop. On Windows 8, you click the fake Start button and start just typing icons on the desktop. The Charms bar will appear to the right with the search results.

This will bring up the exact same dialog box as in Windows 7. There’s not much else to getting the recycle bin back, but there are a few tricks I’ve learned over time.

First, you can bypass the recycle bin by holding down the CTRL key when you delete a file in Windows. You should only use this option when you are absolutely sure that you will not need to restore the file later.

Second, you can right-click on the recycle bin, select Properties, and configure a few options like the size of the recycle bin and whether you want to see the delete confirmation dialog. If you have a small hard drive like an SSD, reducing the size of the recycle bin can save you quite a bit of space.

If you have any other problems restoring your trash icon, feel free to post a comment and we’ll try to help. Enjoy!

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