A Neat Trick For A Minimal Recycle Bin On Windows

A Neat Trick For A Minimal Recycle Bin On Windows

A Neat Trick For A Minimal Recycle Bin On WindowsIf you want a minimal desktop, then the near-permanent presence of the Recycle Bin can be a nuisance. Reader Todd shares one tactic for making it less intrusive without getting rid of it entirely.

Here’s Todd’s trick in his own words:

Something that I had always struggled with was the Recycle Bin: it’s not particularly ‘minimal’ in Windows 7. But I had a stroke of genius tonight. Changing the icon for ‘Recycle Bin (empty)’ to a completely transparent icon, and renaming the desktop Recycle Bin icon with the ‘invisible character’ (ALT+255), I could have the Recycle Bin included on my minimal desktop; it would display *nothing* when it was empty, and *just* the icon when it had something in it.

To change the icon for the empty Recycle Bin, you need to access the Personalization option in Control Panel (searching for Personalization in the Start menu will find it pretty quickly) and click on Change desktop icons. Renaming the Recycle Bin is pretty straightforward: just right-click on it from the desktop, choose Rename and enter the Alt-255 character using your numeric keypad.

There are other tricks for putting the Recycle Bin elsewhere, such as placing it on the Start menu, but this is a clever tactic for having it almost invisible but still functional. Thanks Todd!


  • I can live with a recycle bin – although it is better without the words Recycle Bin. Thanks for the tip.

    My gripe is the applications which insist on loading icons on the desktop without permission. Why do developers persist with this? Do they think they are doing us a favour?

    Is there a foolproof way to stop them appearing?

    • If you’re installing a program and it’s kind enough to ask, untick the option to make a desktop icon. If an icon appears, nuke it with a Shift+Delete to skip the Recycle Bin.
      I used to meticulously arrange my Start Menu to catagories such as “System Utilities”, “Media” and “Productivity”, but now with the new Start Menu search bar, I simply have all programs install their shortcuts into the Start Menu, and I search for it instead. Only problem is when you remember you installed a program for a certain functionality, but you can’t remember its name.

  • Nice tip! I love the concept of a minimalist desktop with just the wallpaper, but unfortunately much the same as my actual desktop at work, my windows desktop always invariably becomes a dumping ground for temporary files and half finished documents. Damn me for being so unorganised.

  • I’ve never used recycle bin. I’ve set it to permanantly delete and removed the icon from the desktop. Never had a problem with it for years. I don’t understand why people can’t exert a little self control when deleting things.

    • I also don’t understand why people can’t exert a little self control and refrain from commenting on something irrelevant to them, by stating how irrelevant it is to them.

  • I’ve always just dragged it to the “True Launch Bar” although you can do the same with the “Quick launch Bar” and then just remove the desktop icon. leaves the desktop clean and uncluttered!! :]

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