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EDIT: Solved by restarting computer (cue rolling eyes)- it's strange that it worked the second time I did this, but not the first. Ah well, question can be considered closed.

I'm on Windows 10, and this is a new issue that's popped up in the past few days. I have two external hard drive disks - previously, when I deleted files, they would send them to the recycle bin. Now though, they no longer do so, and only ask me if I want to get rid of them permanently, like on a USB stick.This is an issue because if I ever accidentally delete a file, I want to be able to recover it immediately.

This could have to do with the fact that one of my hard drives fell down lightly the other day (though it is strange, because they're otherwise working perfectly fine, and this also affects the one that didn't fall). When I click on the Recycle Bin properties, its only location is my internal C: drive - I assume it's supposed to have the other drives as well? Is there a way to add them back? I've tried unplugging and plugging them back in, to no avail.

As I understand it, each external HDD has a specific hidden "recycle bin" that is linked to the desktop recycle bin. Both of them still had these, though I deleted one, to see if that changed anything, because I thought I read that if I unplugged and plugged the HDD back in it would recreate it (which, uh, it didn't).

I tried chkdsk and scannow on one of the drives, but not both of them. Since both are exhibiting the same behavior, I'm mostly making tests on the one containing less data.

So now I'm kinda stumped. I have no idea if there's a way to fix this, and searching online gave me no real clue - most posts are about deleting the external HDD recycle bins, which obviously is not what I want.

I'm not sure if there's a way to check if the drives are fixed or removable - in Disk Management, nothing really seems to have changed, although oddly enough they only show up in the "volume" list above if I change their policies by clicking in the list below from "quick removal" to "better performance" (and vice-versa) - which didn't do anything.

Any ideas?

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  • Do not edit your question to mark it solved. Answer it yourself instead, containing the steps you used to solve it. – zx485 Jul 1 at 3:39
  • Well, I tried that below, but I was told that "this is not an answer" and to "add the information to my question". I'll undelete it, then. – Dissentrix Jul 1 at 18:29
  • Thanks for the info. I don't have the "see deleted answers" privilege, so I didn't know about it. – zx485 Jul 1 at 21:59
  • @Dissentrix A reboot may resolve an issue, but it is not a solution to the issue you describe... There's a fundamental difference. That fundamental difference matters when someone else has the same/similar issue and I can guarantee a reboot, in and of itself, will not solve the issue you describe (if a reboot was the solution, your prior reboot(s) would have resolved the issue), which is why I commented that your answer is not an answer, and to please add the information to your question instead. – JW0914 2 days ago
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To re-enable the Recycle Bin:

  1. File Explorer → C:\$RECYCLE.BIN → Right-click Recycle BinProperties
  2. General tab → Highlight the applicable drive(s)
  3. Settings for selected location → Tick Custom sizeOK
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  • Hmm - I just tried this, but similarly to the desktop recycle bin properties I described in my original post, my two hard drives don't even appear on the list of available locations. – Dissentrix Jun 30 at 11:03
  • @Dissentrix I misread information in your question... if the external drive(s) have a $RECYCLE.BIN directory, then it's likely the directory has become corrupted. To fix: rename the $RECYCLE.BIN directory $RECYCLE.BIN.corrupt on the affected drive, then delete $RECYCLE.BIN.corrupt. Navigate out of, then back into, the root of the drive and perform the steps in the answer to verify the issue is resolved. If not, run the following on each drive: chkdsk <drive>: /offlinescanandfix Beyond that, it would be more efficient to backup the contents and reformat the external as NTFS. – JW0914 Jun 30 at 11:26
  • @Dissentrix Cont'd... It's also entirely possible the $RECYCLE.BIN on an internal/permanently connected drive could be at fault (I don't know why corruption of one $RECYCLE.BIN affects the $RECYCLE.BIN on other drives, I only know it occurs), so you may want to repeat the renaming steps in my previous comment on all drives, but don't re-enter the root of any drive after deleting $RECYCLE.BIN.corrupt until all have had their recycle bins renamed and deleted. If these steps resolve your issue, I'll add them to the answer. – JW0914 Jun 30 at 11:32
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Well, apparently restarting my computer solved this. It's bizarre, because I'd already restarted it before with no results, but whatever. Issue's closed.

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  • This is not an answer... please add this information to your question by editing it. – JW0914 Jun 30 at 11:20
  • @JW0914: This is, as easy or improbable the solution may seem to be, an answer. And it is better to recognize this as an answer than to add the info to the question. – zx485 Jul 1 at 21:58
  • A reboot may resolve an issue, but it is not a solution to the issue you describe... There's a fundamental difference. That fundamental difference matters when someone else has the same/similar issue and I can guarantee a reboot, in and of itself, will not solve the issue you describe (if a reboot was the solution, your prior reboot(s) would have resolved the issue) - a reboot of an OS, in and of itself, cannot, and does not, fix partition corruption, Recycle Bin directory corruption, or master file table corruption, nor does it make changes to system settings (in this context). – JW0914 2 days ago
  • Perhaps. It solved my issue, though, so I fail to see why I should keep this opened as a problem with no solution (since there is no problem anymore), and will thus mark this as the answer. – Dissentrix 2 days ago

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