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Recycle Bin

In the early days of computing, once you deleted a file, it was gone. An unerase tool (available as part of Norton Utilities) was commonly used to recover accidentally deleted files, and can even be used in Windows XP to recover items emptied from the Recycle Bin. Thus, the Recycle Bin was implemented—a feature that gives nearly every file a second chance, so to speak.

Drag any item from the Desktop to the Recycle Bin icon to delete it, as shown in Figure 3-21. File Delete on the menubar of a folder also moves items to the Recycle Bin, as does selecting the item and then pressing the Delete key. By default, files are not deleted immediately, but are stored until the Recycle Bin runs out of space, at which point they are deleted, oldest first, to make space. Until that time, they can be retrieved by double-clicking on the Recycle Bin icon, browsing through the contents of the Recycle Bin window, and dragging or sending the file elsewhere.

Figure 3-23. Drag nearly any icon onto your Recycle Bin to delete it; subsequently open the Recycle Bin folder to retrieve it

Use the Delete key to move any selected files to the Recycle Bin. To access the Recycle Bin with the keyboard, it’s easiest to simply open Windows Explorer and navigate to your \Recycled folder (there’s one on each drive, if you have more than one).

Files dragged to the Recycle Bin (or that are otherwise deleted) from floppies, network drives, or other external drives such as Zip drives will not be stored in the Recycle Bin. They are simply deleted.

The following settings are available in the Recycle Bin’s Properties window:

  • A slider allows you to specify how much of each drive can be allocated to the Recycle Bin. The default is 10 percent. You can specify the same value for all drives or set a separate value for each drive. Keep in mind that on today’s huge drives, 10 percent can be a lot: 10 percent of a 40 gigabyte disk is 4 full gigabytes of stored junk. The amount of space actually used by the files in the Recycle Bin is displayed in the Bin’s status bar when you open it.

  • A checkbox allows you to specify that deleted files are not to be stored in the Recycle Bin, but removed immediately from the disk. Check this box if you don’t want to have to remember to empty your Recycle Bin to delete files, although it can be rather dangerous if you’re careless with the Del key.

  • A checkbox asks if you want to display a delete confirmation dialog. Unlike some earlier versions of Windows, it’s possible to have the delete confirmation turned off at the same time that the “Do not move files to the Recycle Bin” setting is turned on. This means that it’s possible to permanently delete files without any warnings at all.

    To delete a single file without sending it to the Recycle Bin, use Shift-Delete or the del command at the command prompt.



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