A Better Recycle Bin

Hi, Fred. Is there a way to configure the Recycle Bin so that it frees up disk space as needed, rather than waiting until newer items are deleted (to permanently delete older items)? If it worked that way, there would be no reason not to use a large Recycle Bin, if I understand it correctly. Thanks. —Russell A. Dewey, PhD

I have good news and bad news.

First, the bad news: There is no way to tweak Windows XP’s Recycle Bin so that it auto deletes the oldest items to make room for disk space consumption outside the Recycle Bin. The Recycle Bin can limit its own growth— you can tell it how much space you want to limit it too. (Right click on the Recycle Bin, select Properties, and move the slider to indicate how much space you want the Recycle Bin to consume either for all drives in your system or on a per-drive basis.) But the Bin operates without regard for what’s happening to disk space elsewhere on the system.

Now, the good news: Norton System Works features a utility called Norton Protected Recycle Bin, which does what you’d like Windows’ Recycle Bin to do. Norton Protected Recycle Bin "protects" the files you delete for a user-determined amount of time— the default is seven days. At the same time, however, it monitors available disk space. If "protected" files interfere with any other disk use, the oldest files are permanently deleted to free up disk space.

The tool is not free or available a la cart, however— the whole "Works," which includes Norton AntiVirus, Norton Utilities, Norton GoBack, CheckIt Diagnostics, and System Optimizer, costs about $40 on Amazon.com ( http://tinyurl.com/lz52p ) after a $20 rebate. If you’re a Norton AntiVirus user anyway, it makes sense to buy the whole Norton System Works and get in on all the other useful utilities — including Norton Protected Recycle Bin. If, on the other hand, you have no interest in these other utilities, $40 might be a lot to pay for a slightly better Recycle Bin.



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Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.