Remove “Recycle Bin” Icon From Any Version Of Windows

Hi Fred: My question is "How do you remove the recycle bin icon from the desktop in windows XP?". I read somewhere that you can do it but I couldn’t find the book, also a search in google told me how to empty the recycle bin. Any ideas where I can find this info?? Thanks Andrew

Sure, Andrew; it can be done in all versions of Windows. But just to be clear: Removing the icon for Recycle Bin doesn’t remove the actual Recycle Bin or prevent normal deletion functions. Even after removing the desktop icon, the Recycle Bin folders still appear in your directory structure, and you can still delete (or restore) files normally. All that happens is that the actual desktop icon goes away. (Some people like an ultra-clean desktop, with no icons.)

Microsoft provides some general information for manually removing any desktop icon (via a Registry edit) at:;EN-US;q162170&

But a better site, offering click-to-run Registry patches that automatically remove the Recycle Bin icon in Win95 / 98 / ME / 2K / XP, is:

Other third-party tools (such as various "Tweakers") also do the same thing.

But again, note that none of the above actually removes the Recycle Bin itself; just the icon.

There are times when you may want to remove the actual Recycle Bin, such as when the Win98 Recycle Bin gets fouled up so that you get the message when you try to delete *any* file:

Cannot delete "", cannot find the specified path.
Make sure you typed the right path.

In that case, there’s a fix for stripping out the entire Recycle Bin structure. Upon reboot, the Recycle Bin then rebuilds itself from scratch, and that usually fixes the "cannot delete any file" problem. See:;EN-US;Q246726&

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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.