How to get past the Recycle Bin on Windows 10

How to get past the Recycle Bin on Windows 10

Ever wished you could delete a file, without having to send it to the Recycle Bin first? Luckily there is a way.

The Recycle Bin is around as long as Windows itself, offering an easy way to separate the files you want to keep from what you don’t have.

However, it is not universally admired, especially because it means you have to effectively delete files twice before being deleted from your device.

Many people will appreciate the safety net offered, but if you prefer to delete files instantly, this is how.

How to bypass the Recycle Bin when deleting files

You can bypass the Recycle Bin for once, or set it to always delete items immediately. First, something that you can apply every time you want to delete something:

  1. Open File Explorer, either by searching or clicking on the icon in the taskbar
  2. Select the file you want to delete permanently and press Shift + Delete. Or, right-click and hold Shift while clicking the ‘Delete’ option
  3. You should then get a message that says ‘Are you sure you want to delete this file permanently?’. Press yes to confirm


If you can’t see yourself wanting a Recycle Bin in the future, there are more permanent changes:

  1. Right-click on the Recycle Bin icon (whether on the desktop, taskbar or in the Start Menu) and select ‘Properties’
  2. Under ‘Settings for selected locations’, make sure you select the option that says’ Don’t move files to the Recycle Bin. Delete files immediately when deleted. ‘2(4)
  3. Press Apply to confirm changes
  4. Now, when you delete a file as usual, it will give you the option to delete it permanently

By default, this will be set to drive C :, although you may have to repeat the process if the Recycle Bin saves files from another location.

How to get the Recycle Bin to empty automatically

If you take the safety net off too far, you can also set the Recycle Bin to empty itself automatically after a specified number of days.

This gives you peace of mind if you accidentally delete something important, while at the same time making sure your PC isn’t clogged with files that you don’t need.

By default, this is set to empty after 60 days, but this can be easily customized via the Storage Sense menu:

  1. Go to Settings> System> Storage.
  2. Turning off the ‘Storage Sense’ switch will stop it from emptying everything, so it might be a good idea to click the ‘Configure Storage Sense or run now’ option.
  3. Under ‘Temporary files’, click the drop-down under’ Delete files in my Downloads folder if there is already ‘go’ and make your choice.


While you’re here, check out more ways to get the most out of your Windows 10 PC.

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