I've created a substed drive on Windows 7. When I delete a file, it doesn't go to the recycle bin, instead it is deleted permanently.

Recycle bin properties do not show this drive at all.

Any hack to send the files from substed drives to the recycle bin?

  • 1
    not that i'm aware of....nice catch on an odd behavior Dec 16, 2010 at 14:24
  • The interesting thing about this is that prior to Vista, this wasn't a problem, and you could undelete files on SUBST drives.
    – Will Dean
    Jan 7, 2011 at 23:22

7 Answers 7

  1. Browse to C:\users\.
  2. Right-click on one of the folders in this location (I chose saved games) and click properties.
  3. Select the Location tab.
  4. Click Move, browse to to root of the mapped drive, and click Select Folder.
  5. When asked "move all content?" it's your decision, I prefer "No".

A $RECYCLE.BIN is created in the mapped drive and the drive is in the list shown in the properties of recyclebin.

If you move the location back to C:\users..., the mapped drive is removed from the list of drives that are covered by recycle bin. But the Recyclebin itself remains in the mapped drive. Allowing you to access deleted files from other drives, only.

Source: Microsoft

  • 2
    I can confirm that this trick works. However, there is a side effect. Even if I restore the location of say "Saved Games" back to C:\users, the folder that now contains the $RECYCLE.BIN file appears renamed as "Saved Games" in the file explorer. I did this to a folder in D:\Work\Code and in the file explorer appears as D:\Work\"Saved Games". If I check the folder name from a cmd console it's still Code, and the subst I did to that folder still works, so the side effect it's limited to the file explorer
    – martinako
    Sep 15, 2013 at 17:18
  • Does not works for me in Windows 8.1. By default it shows the drive in location columns in recycle bin properties but don't actually moved when deleted. After doing this tutorial it even stopped showing drive in location columns in recycle bin properties leaving situation intact
    – user218521
    Aug 21, 2014 at 11:57
  • @martinako Delete the hidden desktop.ini file in that folder to restore its displayed name to normal.
    – Boann
    Aug 24, 2016 at 17:48

There is an approach that does not require you to redirect one of the "Users" folders. I don't know why, but I was unable to get that approach to work, and I found it was really messy to undo.

This REG file is based on the information compiled from this TechNet article, which discusses how to enable the Recycle Bin. The example maps the virutal Q drive to folder "OneDrive - Test", and enables the Recycle Bin on the Q drive. Change the paths and name to suit your situation.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\DOS Devices]
"Q:"="\\??\\C:\\Users\\Tony\\OneDrive - Test"





If you only have one such mapped drive, then you can get away with the GUID {9147E464-33A6-48E2-A3C9-361EFD417DEF}. If you have multiple mapped drives, then each should be matched to its own GUID from your favorite GUID generator.

  • Works ok on Win7 after explorer restart/relogon.<br> Using with HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\DriveIcons trick to have a separate drive label from parent + custom icon. Feb 16, 2021 at 20:23
  • Setting RelativePath to an absolute path is weird, but it's compact and it works. If eventually it no longer does, you can use actual folder redirection by adding the path into HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders. Nov 12, 2022 at 21:24
  • The HKCU BitBucket KnownFolder key is created automatically during logon, so it can be skipped and doesn't need any additional per-user handling. Nov 12, 2022 at 21:39

According to various sources, the recycle bin indeed seems to not be available for that kind of drive.


I faced the same issue and since I did not find any (for me) suitable solution, I began playing and trying around a little... I copied the $Recycle.bin folder from one drive to my substed drive and this seems to be an easy and working solution.


subst drives are like removable storages and if you delete a file from that type of drive, it will be deleted permanently; these drives don't have a Recycle Bin folder.


I create SUBST drives like this: SUBST S: C:\DRIVES\DRIVE-S If you want to delete files in SUBST drives, but want the peace of mind that you can undelete it if needed, instead of deleting the file from the virtual drive, example: Drive "S", delete it from the actual folder, example: C:\DRIVES\DRIVE-S. It will go to the Recycle bin.

If you like to put shortcut icons for your virtual drives on the desktop, don't make the shortcut of the virtual drive letter, make it of the actual folder like above: C:\DRIVES\DRIVE-S. You can right-click on the shortcut folder icon, select: PROPERTIES, then select: CHANGE ICON, and choose an icon that looks like a drive or whatever you want. That way if you delete a file using the shortcut, the file will go to the recycle bin.

  • 2
    It seems like this defeats the purpose of subst. Why use subst at all if you’re going to do everything in the actual folder? Jan 21, 2018 at 4:20
  • You only need to use the actual folder whenever you want to delete a file. For all other purposes you can use the Subst drive letter. I like the convenience of pointing to a drive letter whenever I'm trying to open or save a file. Example, if I want to save or open something in my "Drive S," I just type "S: or S:\" and either hit the ENTER key so I can see all the files in that drive or I include the name of the file: "S:\Testfile.docx, then hit the ENTER key. Much quicker that way.
    – Gamer
    Jan 28, 2018 at 17:18

A Tricky way, use explorer shortcut folder to map target virtual drive:

pic1 pic2

It works in my windows 10, I choose "3D object" to map.

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