HOW TO: Bypass the Recycle Bin When You Delete Files and Folders in Windows XP

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Article ID: 320031 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q320031
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SUMMARY

This step-by-step article describes how to permanently delete a file and bypass the Recycle Bin in Microsoft Windows XP.

To protect users against accidental deletion of important files, the Recycle Bin collects deleted files and provides a method of restoring those files. You must explicitly delete the files from the Recycle Bin to make the deletion permanent. Until the files are deleted from the Recycle Bin, the disk space that is occupied by those files is unavailable for other uses.

Sometimes it is beneficial to bypass the Recycle Bin, especially if you are deleting a large number of files (or a smaller number of very large files) that you are sure are no longer needed, and you want to reclaim the disk space.

Permanently Bypass the Recycle Bin

You can permanently bypass the Recycle Bin by changing the configuration of the Recycle Bin:
  1. Right-click the Recycle Bin, and then click Properties.
  2. In the Recycle Bin Properties dialog box, click to select the Do not move files to the Recycle Bin. Remove files immediately when deleted check box.
  3. Click OK.
You can also configure Windows XP to skip the confirmation message whether or not you are using the Recycle Bin. In the Recycle Bin Properties dialog box, click to clear the Display delete confirmation dialog check box, and then click OK.

If you bypass the Recycle Bin, you receive the following confirmation-request message:
Are you sure you want to delete filename?
If you do not bypass the Recycle Bin, you receive the following confirmation-request message:
Are you sure you want to send <filename> to the Recycle Bin?
The confirmation message is a quick way to determine whether or not you are using the Recycle Bin.

The following deletion actions do not send files to the Recycle Bin, whether or not the Recycle Bin is active:
  • Deletions from removable disks (CD-RWs, floppy disks, Zip drives, and other removable disks).
  • Deletions from remote shares.
  • Deletions from compressed (zipped) folders.
  • Deletions at the command line.
NOTE: You can bypass the Recycle Bin on a one-time basis, or you can permanently configure Windows XP to bypass the Recycle Bin.

To bypass the Recycle Bin on a one-time basis, when you are deleting a file (or a group of selected files), press and hold down the SHIFT key while you press the DEL key (or use the Delete command). You receive the following confirmation-request message:
Are you sure you want to delete <filename>?

REFERENCES

For more information about the Recycle Bin and its functions, please refer to the Windows XP Help and Support Center.

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Article ID: 320031 - Last Review: March 26, 2004 - Revision: 1.3
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
Keywords: 
kbenv kbhowto kbhowtomaster KB320031

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