Windows Recycle Bin is a good design to temporarily keep the files and folders deleted by users manually or by some programs. Whenever users find some important data are deleted by mistake, they can open the Recycle Bin to find them back easily. However, what if your Windows 11 Recycle Bin not working? How to fix the problems?

Since most users know much about Recycle Bin, I won’t bother them with what it is here. What I’m focusing on is the Windows 11 Recycle Bin not working issue. Lots of the Windows 11 users find their Recycle Bin is not working as expected: Recycle Bin not showing, Recycle Bin not opening, Recycle Bin not showing deleted items, Recycle Bin not emptying, etc. I’ll cover them one by one.

Windows 11 Recycle Bin

Tip: Don’t worry if you can’t find your deleted files in Recycle Bin or you have emptied the Recycle Bin before realizing it contains useful data. There are many data recovery tools that can help you recover lost data from Windows 11, including the one provided by MiniTool Solution (the tool and the recovery steps will be mentioned later on this page).

Recycle Bin Not Showing Up on Windows 11

Where is Recycle Bin Windows 11? How to open Recycle Bin in Windows 11? There are some commonly used ways to open it on your Windows 11 device.

  • Locate the Recycle Bin icon on the desktop and double click on it.
  • Look at the taskbar to find the Recycle Bin icon and click it.
  • Press Windows + E to open File Explorer -> click the address bar at the top -> type Recycle Bin -> press Enter.
  • Press Windows + R to open Run -> type exe shell:RecycleBinFolder -> click OK or press Enter.

Besides, you can open the Recycle Bin from the Start menu, This PC folder, or other locations if you have added it there in advance.

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However, many users complained that they can’t find the Windows 11 Recycle Bin icon: Recycle Bin not showing on desktop, Recycle Bin not showing in search bar, Recycle Bin not showing in File Explorer, etc. What to do if the Recycle Bin is missing from your Windows 11 PC?

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How to Restore Windows 11 Recycle Bin Icon

What happens when you notice the Recycle Bin not showing or Recycle Bin not found? You may delete the Recycle Bin icon unintentionally; some programs may remove the icon; other people used your computer & hide the icon, but forgot to tell you. Whatever the exact reason is, you can try the following two ways to restore the Recycle Bin icon on Windows 11.

The first way: Show desktop icons.

  1. Navigate to the Windows 11 desktop.
  2. Right click on the blank section.
  3. Select View from the context menu.
  4. Click Show desktop icons from the submenu to check it.

Your desktop icons including Recycle Bin will appear.

The second way: show Recycle Bin icon via Settings.

  1. Open Windows 11 Settings by pressing Windows + I or in other ways you prefer.
  2. Select Personalization from the left pane.
  3. Browse the options in the right pane and click Themes.
  4. Scroll down to locate the Related settings section.
  5. Click Desktop icon settings.
  6. Look for the Recycle Bin option in the opening window and check it.
  7. Click Apply and OK to confirm the change.

Show Recycle Bin desktop icon

If you want to hide or remove the Recycle Bin icon from Windows 11 gain, you can repeat the above steps to uncheck Show desktop icons from the context menu or Recycle Bin from Desktop Icon Settings.

This page tells more about how to hide or delete the Recycle Bin icon in Windows 11.

How to Add Recycle Bin to Search Bar

Please follow this to pin Windows 11 Recycle Bin to the taskbar:

  1. Right click on the blank space on the desktop.
  2. Navigate to the New item option in the context menu.
  3. Select Shortcut from the submenu.
  4. The Create Shortcut wizard will open.
  5. Copy and paste this into the textbox under Type the location of the item: %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe shell:RecycleBinFolder.
  6. Click Next.
  7. Type Recycle Bin as the name of the shortcut and click Finish.
  8. Right click on the Recycle Bin shortcut you’ve created on your desktop.
  9. Select Show more options.
  10. Click Pin to taskbar.
  11. The Recycle Bin icon will show up on the Windows 11 taskbar.

To pin Recycle Bin to Windows 11 Start menu, you should: right click on Recycle Bin and select Pin to Start.

Create New Shortcut

Perform these actions if you want to change the shortcut icon:

  1. Right click on Recycle Bin shortcut icon on your desktop.
  2. Select Properties.
  3. Click on the Change Icon button and select an icon you prefer.
  4. Click OK to confirm.

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How to Show Recycle Bin in File Explorer

As mentioned earlier, you can open Recycle Bin from File Explorer by typing Recycle Bin into the address bar and pressing Enter. (How to fix when Windows 11 File Explorer is slow?)

How to show Recycle Bin in the left-side panel of Windows 11 File Explorer:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Right click on any blank space in the left-side panel.
  3. Select Show all folders from the context menu.
  4. The Recycle Bin icon will then appear.

Show Recycle Bin in File Explorer

Windows 11 Recycle Bin Not Working

In addition to Recycle Bin not loading, some users also said they find the Recycle Bin corrupted suddenly on Windows 11 due to corrupt DLL file, $Recycle.bin folder error, unexpected system shutdown, system error, or other reasons. How to fix Recycle Bin not working? There are 2 effective solutions.

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Fix 1: Reset Recycle Bin

  1. Press Windows + S.
  2. Type cmd into the text box.
  3. Look for Command Prompt from the search result.
  4. Click Run as administrator.
  5. If you see the User Account Control window, please click Yes.
  6. Type rd /s /q C:\$Recycle.bin into the Command Prompt window and press Enter to execute the command to reset the $Recycle.bin folder on C: drive.
  7. Type rd /s /q D:\$Recycle.bin and press Enter to reset the Recycle Bin on D: drive.
  8. Repeat this command to reset Recycle Bin on other drives.

Run Command Prompt as administrator

Fix 2: Delete & Reinstall Recycle Bin

This solution is a little bit risky since the user permissions will be involved and you’ll need to reconfigure the Recycle Bin from scratch.

Step one: show Recycle Bin folder.

  1. Press Windows + S.
  2. Type Control Panel and press Enter.
  3. Click Appearance and Personalization.
  4. Choose to View by Large or Small icons.
  5. Find File Explorer Options and click on it.
  6. Shift to the View tab at the top.
  7. Go to the Advanced settings section.
  8. Browse the options to locate Hide protected operating system files (Recommended).
  9. Uncheck it and click Yes in the prompt Warning window.
  10. Click Apply and OK to confirm the changes.

Change Folder options

Step two: delete files.

  1. Open File Explorer as you usually do.
  2. Access each drive to delete the $RECYCLE.BIN folders and the relevant permissions for them.
  3. Restart your Windows 11 computer.

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Step three: reconfigure Recycle Bin.

  1. Right click on the blank area on the desktop.
  2. Select Personalize.
  3. Go to Themes -> Related settings.
  4. Select Desktop icon settings.
  5. Check Recycle Bin.
  6. Click Apply and OK.

Recycle Bin Not Showing Deleted Items on Windows 11

You may sometimes find that your deleted files are not displayed in Windows 11 Recycle Bin. What happened? In fact, if you delete data in the following situations, they will not be sent to Windows Recycle Bin.

  • Press the Shift key while you’re deleting files or folders.
  • Delete items using the Command Prompt tool.
  • Delete items from a removable drive like a USB flash drive.
  • The file is too large for the Recycle Bin.
  • Your Recycle Bin is not configured to store deleted files.

Useful Tips for Recycle Bin Not Showing Deleted Items

Tip 1: don’t press the Shift key while you’re deleting files.

You shouldn’t press the Shift key when selecting Delete from the context menu. Also, you shouldn’t use the Shift + Delete keyboard combination to delete an item from Windows 11.

Tip 2: think twice while you’re deleting data saved on a flash drive.

The USB flash drives don’t include $Recycle.bin folders, so you can’t find files and folders deleted from them in the Recycle Bin. Therefore, you must think twice before deleting items from a flash drive.

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Tip 3: don’t delete files with Command Prompt.

Likewise, the Command Prompt does not use the Recycle Bin, so the data deleted by using it will not be sent to Recycle Bin.

Tip 4: back up large files before deleting them.

Also, large files won’t be sent to the Recycle Bin. When you delete a large file/folder, you’ll receive the “This file/folder is too large for the Recycle Bin”. You should back it up before clicking Yes to confirm the deletion action or make sure you have backups of it already.

Tip 5: change Recycle Bin properties.

Change one: disable Don’t move files to Recycle Bin option.

  1. Right click on the Recycle Bin on your desktop.
  2. Select Properties.
  3. Select a drive under Recycle Bin Location.
  4. Go to Settings for selected location.
  5. Check Custom size instead of “Don’t move files to the Recycle Bin. Remove files immediately when deleted”.
  6. Click Apply and OK to confirm.

Uncheck Don’t move files to Recycle Bin

Change two: increase the allocated size for Recycle Bin files.

  1. Open Recycle Bin Properties window and select a drive.
  2. Go to Settings for selected location and Custom size.
  3. Locate the textbox after Maximum size.
  4. Enter a higher value.
  5. Click Apply and OK.

Tip 6: reset Recycle Bin by using the Command Prompt tool.

Please refer to the “Windows 11 Recycle Bin Not Working” part and locate Fix 1: Reset Recycle Bin.

Restore Deleted Files/Folders in Windows 11

After talking about the Windows 11 Recycle Bin not working issue and the corresponding fixes, I’d like to show you how to restore data from Recycle Bin on Windows 11.

How to Recover Deleted Files/Folders from Windows 11 Recycle Bin

  1. Use the methods mentioned above to open Recycle Bin on your Windows 11 computer.
  2. Browse the deleted items to decide which files and folders you want to recover.
  3. Select all the files and folders you need.
  4. Right click on any of the selected items and select Restore.

You can also drag and drop the files and folders out of Recycle Bin directly.

Restore from Recycle Bin

How to Recover Files/Folders You Can't Find in Windows 11 Recycle Bin

How to recover the deleted files/folders which are not put to Recycle Bin? Or what if you have emptied the Recycle Bin to delete needed data permanently? Please let a professional and powerful recovery tool help you.

Free Download

Let’s take MiniTool Power Data Recovery as an example to show you how to recover deleted data on Windows 11.

  1. Launch the recovery software and you’ll see its main interface.
  2. The Logical Drives tab at the top will be selected by default. Make it unchanged if your deleted data are kept in existing drives.
  3. Select the drive that contains the data you need.
  4. Click Scan or double click on the drive to scan it.
  5. Wait for the scan.
  6. Browse the scan results and expand the Deleted Files folder.
  7. Check all the data you want to restore.
  8. Click on the Save button at the bottom right.
  9. Choose a storage location and click OK.
  10. Wait for the deleted files recovery on Windows 11 to complete.

If you want to recover data from deleted/lost drives, please shift to Devices and select a disk to scan.

Scan the target drive

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Recycle Bin Won’t Empty Windows 11

Some Windows 11 users said their Recycle Bin won’t delete files or they find the Recycle Bin not emptying. Besides, other users also said they can’t find an option to Empty Recycle Bin. How to fix Recycle Bin not deleting files or no Empty Recycle Bin option? There are some effective solutions.

  • Empty Recycle Bin from File Explorer.
  • Empty Recycle Bin via Settings -> System -> Storage.
  • Reset Recycle Bin on your PC.
  • Close the running apps and programs in Task Manager.
  • Restart Windows 11 File Explorer or restart the computer completely.
  • Update or remove/uninstall third-party software that may cause the issue.
  • Perform a clean boot on your PC. (How to clean boot Windows 11?)
  • Use Storage Sense to empty Recycle Bin on a schedule.

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This post covers all you want to know about Windows 11 Recycle Bin: where is Recycle Bin Windows 11, how to open Recycle Bin in Windows 11, and how to fix Recycle Bin not working Windows 11 (Recycle Bin not showing up, Recycle Bin not showing deleted items on Windows 11, and Recycle Bin not emptying/deleting files). Please go to the part you’re interested in according to your needs.

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