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Windows 8.1: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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The Recycle Bin

The Recycle Bin is your desktop trash basket. This is where files and folders go when they’ve outlived their usefulness. Basically, the Recycle Bin is a waiting room for data oblivion, in that your files stay there until you empty it—or until you rescue the files by dragging them out again.

While you can certainly drag files or folders onto the Recycle Bin icon, it’s usually faster to highlight them and then perform one of the following options:

  • Press the Delete key.

  • Click the Delete button on the Ribbon’s Home tab.

  • Choose File→Delete.

  • Right-click a highlighted icon and choose Delete from the shortcut menu.

Windows asks if you’re sure you want to send the item to the Recycle Bin; in Windows 8.1, it provides a good chunk of information about the file in the warning window, for your safety. (You don’t lose much by clicking Yes, since it’s easy enough to change your mind, as noted below.) Now the Recycle Bin icon looks like it’s brimming over with paper.

You can put unwanted files and folders into the Recycle Bin from any folder window or even from inside the Open File dialog box of many applications.

Note

All these methods put icons from your hard drive into the Recycle Bin. But deleting an icon from a removable drive (flash drives, for example), from other computers on the network, or from a .zip file, does not involve the Recycle Bin. Those files go straight to heaven, giving you no opportunity to retrieve them. (Deleting anything with the Command Prompt commands del or ...

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