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I usually can't stand when there's something in the recycle bin. I almost always "right-click > Empty Recycle Bin" when I see the "full" icon. But I also hate it when I emptied it too early and there was a file I needed to recover.

I was thinking about solving both problems by removing the Recycle Bin icon from the desktop. That way I'll never even know it's there (full or not) until I really need it and then I can just unhide and recover my file.

My question, though, is: What happens when the Recycle Bin fills its space? My machine is set to store around 1GB. Does Windows notify you that it's full or does it just delete some files (the oldest first, hopefully.)?

Note: I'm using Windows 7 if that makes a difference.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

When the recycle bin's maximum size has been reached the oldest contents will be deleted to make room for the most recently deleted.

Source and more interesting facts about the Windows Recycle Bin.

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+1 The panda recovery article was interesting, thanks. –  DaveParillo Nov 12 '09 at 3:43
I think I'll just hide the Recycle Bin and forget about it. That way I'm not bothered by it and I can always recover my recently-deleted files. The performance hit isn't a big deal to me. Thanks for the info! –  Travis Nov 13 '09 at 18:28

When the recycle bin is full, any new files you put in it is permanently deleted. At least this was the case in Windows 95/98/2k/XP. I haven't actually tried it in Vista and W7, but I suspect the functionality is the same.

Edit: Sorry, perhaps the old files are deleted first after all. For some reason, I was thinking of files that are too big to fit in the recycle bin - those never even enter it.

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