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File deletion is one of the most important aspects of any computer system. Any user needs a way to make sure that they can get rid of sensitive, useless, or potentially harmful data that is taking up space on the storage unit. Nearly every operating system you will encounter has some version of a “trash” user interface. This application provides user profiles with a quick and easy way to get rid of files with at least some degree of permanence.

Different operating systems will call this feature by their own names. In the case of Microsoft systems, users will see the “Recycle Bin” as the name for this interface. It should appear automatically on the desktop home screens of any new Microsoft installation. You can recognize it easily thanks to its shape and recycling symbols on the front part of the graphic.

As handy as the Recycle Bin feature can be, some users who deal with Microsoft operating systems wonder if the interface can affect the overall performance of their machines. We can try to get to the heart of this issue in today’s post. As we do, we’ll talk about some of the factors that govern how the Recycle Bin operates, and we can dissect what kinds of impacts this use of the interface could have on a computer’s performance.

Additionally, we’ll check out whether cleaning out all the files from the trash interface means that they delete themselves permanently, including whether there is any possibility of recovering them later.

AdobeStock_468585048 Trash folder. Full recycle bin. Desktop icons. My computer PC shortcut signs.

Does Using the Recycle Bin Affect Performance?

Typically, the Recycle Bin program for Windows operating systems should have only minimal impact on the overall performance of your computer. In fact, it should have no noticeable effect on the daily operations your computer performs. However, there are still some ways that the interface could contribute to the way your machine seems to behave.

The Recycle Bin is simply a hidden location that stores files in a sort of limbo state. It removes them from their usual locations on whatever drive you had stored them previously. However, it does not remove the files from the system completely at this point.

Because the files and data still remain on the computer, their size on the disk still takes up space in the storage drive. In most cases, this sort of thing still should not have any impact on performance. However, if you are already using close to the maximum storage limits that your computer can handle, you might see some performance dips from the device.

Similarly, the Recycle Bin itself has a preset maximum for the space it reserves. If you meet this level, it can contribute to further performance issues from your machine.

In most cases, the Recycle Bin should tell you when files are too large to fit into it. Should this happen, you might get an option to bypass the trash interface and delete the files altogether.

On a related note, system memory and storage are both important resources for your computer. Although your device has a maximum limit, it needs some free space in order to run at its most effective level. When the Recycle Bin is full of files you are not using, you can see that the total available space on the disk drive where they were previously is still the same.

If the storage space gets too close to its ceiling, you may need to at least defragment the drive to help the computer with its performance. Defragmentation cleans up parts of old files that you may have removed long ago. It also helps to make any space that could be available ready for more storage.

Does Emptying the Recycle Bin Permanently Delete Files?

In a way, the answer to this question depends on how you view file deletion. In the most technical sense, emptying the Recycle Bin does not delete the files that were in it. However, for the intents and purposes of most average users, it does seem to do exactly this.

For example, once you delete files from the Recycle Bin, you can check the available space on the drive letter where you stored them prior to moving them to the trash interface. You will notice that the total space now reflects the complete removal of those files.

Once this happens, that space is now available for more files. However, the data comprised the files you emptied from the Recycle Bin is not gone. You can delete files permanently from your system, but the Recycle Bin is not the way to do this.

In order to understand why this is, we need to explain what your system does with data that it stores or removes. When you take files out of the trash interface, it sends a signal to the computer that the space that data once took is now free for new files.

The data is still there. However, the computer is now free to overwrite that data when you store new files or information in the storage space.

In this way, emptying the Recycle Bin doesn’t remove files forever. However, this process will happen eventually. The more you delete files from the computer to make room for new ones, the greater the chances are that you will overwrite the data from those old files. Once this process happens, the files themselves will fully disappear from your system.

AdobeStock_175803199 Deleting files concept

Can Files Be Recovered After Deleting Them From Recycle Bin?

Yes, there is a chance that you can recover some files after you take them out of the Recycle Bin. This answer relates to what we spoke of in the previous section.

Because the ghost of the data from those old files still remains on your disk drive, there is a possibility that you can recover what you lost. However, this is not a process that you do through any native applications that your computer usually provides.

Instead, you can attempt to use data recovery services or software to get the files back. There is no guarantee that this will work. Some professionals specialize in trying to get files back after users have deleted that data from the trash interface. Because of their expertise, they may have ways and means of getting those files back that are not available to the average user. Similarly, some data recovery software has the ability to scan your entire system and reconstitute lost data.

However, much of the success of operations like these relies on you not overwriting the data you want back. To help ensure that you can get it back, it is a good idea to discontinue the use of your system. You should do this as soon as you realize that there is data missing from the Recycle Bin that you need to get back.

What Happens if You Try To Remove the Recycle Bin?

The Recycle Bin is a specific interface that comes with every version of Windows, but you can still remove it if you wish. Deleting the icon on your desktop will not do anything to the interface itself. The Recycle Bin stores files that are ready for deletion in a root folder on the main drive. Using File Explorer, you can navigate to the root location where the interface stores these files. Once you get there, you can delete this folder the same way that you might do to any other that you find.

However, the folder for the Recycle Bin has a ’Hidden’ attribute attached to it by default. This means that you cannot see or access it. In order to get around this, you would first need to go into the File Explorer again. From here, you can tell the system to show you any hidden files or folders. Once you’ve done this, the proper folder will appear in its root directory.

Although you can delete the folder, it may require administrator access and console commands in order for you to complete the process. Even if you can delete it with a simple click of the mouse, probably won’t go away completely. Because the Recycle Bin is a system utility, Windows will probably check for its existence the next time you need to boot up your computer. If it does not find the trash interface, it may just recreate it as a fresh folder in the root directory.


The Recycle Bin is a handy utility that can keep files in a safe location until you are ready to delete them. If you’re not sure about a particular file, you can keep it there for later restoration. This might be particularly useful for those files that might be important to you at a later time.

Thankfully, the Recycle Bin should have almost no negative impact on your computer’s performance. You can empty it to free up more space on your disk drive. If you do happen to delete anything important, there may be a way to recover that data and piece it back together.

This may be a task that is too difficult for some users, and it might only be possible with specific software that works before you overwrite that data with more files.