Windows

How do I restore the Recycle Bin to the Desktop in Windows XP?

For Windows XP users there is no simple way to add back the Recycle Bin to the Desktop, they have to resort to a Windows Registry file edit.

For many users, the Recycle Bin typically found on the Microsoft Windows Desktop is an important facet of the graphical-user interface and the overall operating system experience. However, under certain conditions, which we will not go into here, the Recycle Bin has been known to disappear from the Windows Desktop. This quirky behavior is no big deal for Windows Vista and Windows 7 users because the fix is just a few clicks away under Desktop Properties.

However, for Windows XP users there is no simple way to add back the Recycle Bin to the Desktop. They have to resort to a Windows Registry file edit. In this How Do I blog post, you will find out what to edit to restore the Recycle Bin icon to the Windows Desktop.

Note: The Windows Registry is a vital component of the operating system. A corrupted Windows Registry could result in a PC that will not boot to Windows. Back up the Windows Registry before you do any edits.

This blog post is also available in PDF format in a TechRepublic download and Photo Gallery.

Start regedit

To start the Registry Editor in Windows XP, type regedit into the Run dialog box, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

Type regedit in the Run box.
Click OK and you'll open the Registry Editor, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

Open the Registry Editor.
Inside the Registry Editor you will navigate to this entry, as shown in Figure C:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Desktop\NameSpace

Figure C

Navigate to this entry.
Right-click on the NameSpace registry key, as shown in Figure D,  and then navigate to New | Key.

Figure D

Right-click to create a new key.

Type the following string in the new key (copy and paste it would be your best bet):

645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E

You should now have a new registry key, like the one shown in Figure E.

Figure E

The new key is created.
In the right-hand pane, double-click the Default entry to reveal a dialog box like the one shown in Figure F.

Figure F

This is the default value.
Change the text in the Value Data box to read Recycle Bin and click OK. You should now have a key with an entry similar to the one shown in Figure G.

Figure G

A new key and default entry have been created.

Close the editor and, for the sake of making sure your registry edits were successful, reboot your PC to restart the operating system. When the Windows Desktop reloads, you should have an active Recycle Bin.

Other tweaks and hacks

Have you got any other tweaks, hacks, registry edits, or quirks that you can share with your peers here on TechRepublic? Post them in the following discussion and earn yourself some tech-cred.

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About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

13 comments
Kumcats
Kumcats

Here is link for solution how to restore Recycle Bin icon on desktop in Windows XP : http://www.dougknox.com/xp/scripts_desc/rec_bin.htm To use: Download the recycbin-2.reg file and save it to your hard drive (you may want to right click and use Save Target As). Double-click the recycbin-2.reg file. You will be prompted to enter the information into the Registry. Answer Yes. REG files can be viewed in Notepad or any text editor, as to the specific Registry keys and values that are updated. After the REG file has been imported, right click on the Desktop and select Refresh. IT WORKS!!!

Yur_Majesty
Yur_Majesty

One of my clients has managed to delete his RECYCLE BIN. No, not just the icon, but the entire bin. Windows Explorer does not show it even there on the tree. RegEdit tricks used by TweakUI and other tools do not bring it back. I have even walked through all the items in KB810869, but to no avail. The user did not tell me about it for over 2 months, so there is no restore point to fall back on. Also, he is 400 miles away, so I will need to resolve this remotely (via LogMeIn). Any thoughts?

ps.techrep
ps.techrep

By ignoring worthless article like this one was, and and thinking. In a good corporate environment the users would be locked out of manual registry editing. The advanced Desktop functionality to enable/disable the default desktop shortcuts has been around since before Windows 98. That's more than 12 YEARS!!! I don't understand why they have people who don't know beans about Windows XP writing "How To" articles about "customizing" it with registry hacks.

icoto
icoto

Very good lesson!

robindor
robindor

Why not just use the well-known TweakUI?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Is there a Recycle Bin on your Windows XP Desktop?

pgit
pgit

someone got out of the wrong side of bed this morning. I found this very useful. Most of my clients are stuck on XP for the time being, and not a few of them have lost their recycle bins. I always assumed I was missing something somewhere in the control panel. BTW I wish you would post an article on the causes of a recycle bin disappearing. I recall a few folks telling me they didn't do anything, it just disappeared. I thought they must have right clicked and deleted, but maybe not.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Not exactly sure what your complaint is. This technique will restore a Recycle Bin to the Desktop in Windows XP if a user has removed it. The user may not be allowed to edit the registry, but a net admin would. TweakUI has a feature that does much the same thing, only a bit more eloquently. As I have said before, I am willing to pay cash for Windows XP tips that TechRepublic has not covered before, but so far only two respondents have been able to send me anything useful. How about you ps? You got some magic beans in your pocket?

Who Am I Really
Who Am I Really

I remove it on every install / re-install etc. with Group Policy editor Start > Run > GPEdit.msc then navigate into; User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Desktop under "Desktop" is the Policy "Remove Recycle Bin icon from desktop" set the Policy to "enabled" and the bin vanishes.

Dave O
Dave O

I have never lost the recycle bin on XP. TweakUI also allows you to add/remove Recycle Bin to/from the Desktop. I always keep a copy of TweakUI on a flash drive.

AT Computers
AT Computers

Below you will find three methods of restoring your Recycle Bin to your desktop: Method #1: Right-click an empty area of your desktop Select Properties Click the Desktop tab Click the Customize button Click Restore Default Exit all windows and restart your computer Method #2: Note: Be sure to make a backup copy of your registry prior to making any changes. Go to Start>> Run. Type in: regedit [Enter] Navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Desktop\NameSpace Hold the mouse on NameSpace and right-click once. From the resulting menu, select Edit>> New>> Key Copy and Paste the following Key code (including the brackets): {645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E} Press Enter on your keyboard, exit the registry editor and restart your system. Method#3: Download this registry fix to repair or replace the recycle bin:

seanferd
seanferd

There is one on the Desktop, but I don't know why. I nearly never use the darn thing. Offhand, the only time i send things to the recycle bin is to see if anything breaks when the files are gone, so I can put them back if necessary. Shift+Del on everything else. I guess I just like it sitting there?

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