Investigating Windows Vista's Recycle Bin Properties

In Windows Vista, the Reccyle Bin's 10 percent setting has been replaced by an actual megabyte setting.

I recently wrote a tip for the Windows XP newsletter titled "Reducing the size of the Recycle Bin" in which I discussed importance of reducing the size of the Recycle Bin from its default setting of 10 percent. It's a simple procedure but my point was that the Recycle Bin's 10 percent setting was originated back in the Windows 95 days when 100MB or less hard disks were the norm and now that 100GB or more hard disks are the norm, 10 percent was really overkill for the size of the Recycle Bin.

In any case, the reason that I bring this up here is that I recently began investigating Windows Vista's Recycle Bin and discovered that the percent setting has been replaced by an actual megabyte setting, which brings the configuration more in line with the with today's hard disk sizes. In addition to this change, I found some other interesting changes.

The old Recycle Bin Properties

Just for the sake of giving you a reference point, let's take a quick look at Windows XP's Recycle Bin Properties dialog box, as shown in Figure A. Just in case you may not remember, Windows XP's  Recycle Bin Properties dialog box and its configuration settings are identical to the ones found in Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, and Windows ME.

Figure A

Windows XP's Recycle Bin Properties dialog box.

The first option on the Global tab, Configure Drives Independently, only comes into play if you have more than one hard disk in your system in that it allows you to specify the Recycle Bin size for each hard disk separately by using the settings on the tabs for each individual disk. The second option on the Global tab, Use One Setting For All Drives, is the default even if you only have on hard disk and as I mentioned is set to 10 percent.

If you'd rather not take advantage of the Recycle Bin, you can choose the Do Not Move Files To The Recycle Bin. Remove Files Immediately When Deleted. check box to completely disable the Recycle Bin. Regardless of whether you use or disable the Recycle Bin, you can clear the Display Delete Confirmation Dialog check box in order to make quick work of deleting files.

The new Recycle Bin Properties

Looking at Windows Vista's Recycle Bin Properties dialog box, shown in Figure B, you'll immediately notice that the initial Recycle Bin configuration settings are now tied to user profiles rather than the actual hard disk. You can also see that you now specify the amount of hard disk space to reserve for the Recycle Bin in actual megabytes.

Figure B

Windows Vista Recycle Bin Properties dialog box is familiar but contains some new features.

You'll notice that you can still disable the Recycle Bin entirely as well as disable the delete confirmation dialog. These settings work just like they do in Windows XP.

Just below the Display Delete Confirmation Dialog check box, you'll find the Global Settings button, which is marked with the new shield icon that is used to identify commands that require administrator privileges. In other words, clicking the Global Settings button brings up a User Account Control (UAC) dialog box. Once you confirm your privileges, you'll then see the Global Recycle Bin Properties dialog box, as shown in Figure C, and can specify the default settings for all users on the computer.

Figure C

You need to go through UAC in order to reach the Global Recycle Bin Properties dialog box.

The network connection

As you know, in Windows XP, if you delete a file from a network location, the file is essentially unrecoverable. However, in Windows Vista, you now have the option to extend the file protection offered by the Recycle Bin out to your network.

Next to the General tab in Windows Vista's Recycle Bin Properties dialog box you'll see a tab titled Network, which when click reveals the options shown in Figure D. When you click the Add button, you'll see the Select Network Folder window and can browse to and select any folder on your network to which you have permission to connect.

Figure D

Windows Vista's Recycle Bin can keep track of files you have deleted from network locations.

Once you select a network folder, it will be added to the Recycle Bin's Network list and any files you delete from that folder will then appear in the Recycle Bin where you can easily restore them.

Conclusion

As I continue to experiment with Windows Vista Beta 2 over the next couple of months, I'll be reporting more details on all of the new and improved features in this edition of the operating system. As always, if you have comments or information to share about Windows Vista's Recycle Bin and its ability to now protect deleted network files, please take a moment to drop by the Discussion area and let us hear.

By Greg Shultz

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.