Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP: Free Up Disk Space to Make Recycle Bin Save Less Data


Windows automatically determines the amount of data the Recycle Bin will hold. But most people don’t know you can make it smaller — and that will save a surprising amount of disk space.

Windows automatically determines the amount of data the Recycle Bin will hold. But most people don’t know you can make it smaller. Learn how and you’ll find you will save a surprising amount of disk space.

So here’s how to free up disk space on your Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 system just by adjusting how much data Windows allocates to its the Recycle Bin.   

To be safe, make sure you’ve got a backup of all important files. Also, our partner site has a terrific How To on a utility to help. Scroll down for information on how to use one of our favorite file recovery utilities.

For this How To, I’m using my Windows 7 system with a 250GB hard drive.

First, right click on your Recycle Bin and click Properties.


This displays the Recycle Bin Properties window. Notice Windows set the Recycle Bin size to 13,963MB — that’s about 14GB. If you never empty your Recycle Bin — some people are slack about this — you’ve got an awful waste of space.


To change it, just enter in the value you want. Remember the value you enter is in megabytes. I set all of my systems to 2000MB, which is about 2GB. sshot-3

If you want Windows to delete your files straight out instead of moving them to the Recycle Bin, you can select that here, too. To do that,  choose Don’t Move Files to the Recycle Bin. Careful with this option, though. Because it is so easy to accidentally delete an important report or document, this setting is dangerous and I don’t recommend it for most users. The setting is there if you need it, though.


I chose 2GB for my Recycle Bin size because I know anything larger than that is a rich media file of some type.

Add a file to the Recycle Bin that is any larger than what you set — remember I set mine to 2GB — and you’ll get the following message.

Click Yes to permanently delete the file.


Reducing the amount of space reserved for the Recycle Bin frees up drive space,  a great thing I am sure IT Pros and end-users alike will all agree on. So reduce the amount of data the Recycle Bin saves in Windows 7, 8, Vista and XP and don’t worry, be happy.

As promised, check out our Parter site’s GroovyPost for information on how to use Recuva, a file recovery utility I highlyl recommend.

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