Restore the Recycle Bin to the Desktop in Windows XP

Registry 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 Prosperities.

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 gallery 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 into Windows. Back up the Windows Registry before you doing any edits.

To start the Registry Editor in Windows XP, type regedit into the Run Dialog box.

This gallery is also available as a TechRepublic blog post and download. Image created by Mark Kaelin for TechRepublic.

By Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to,, and TechRepublic.