Recycle Bin
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Take out the papers and the trash.


When it's garbage day at home, make it garbage day on the computer.  Empty your recycle bin at least once a week.


What's the recycle bin, you say?  You know, that thing that looks like a garbage can overflowing with papers.  It's not just a pretty picture, it's where things go when you tell the computer you don't want them any more.  Every time you drag a file there (yes you can do that!), or tell the computer that you no longer want this document or folder, it goes to the recycle bin.  It stays there until you make it go away.   There's nobody else to take out the trash on trash day.  You have to do it.

Don't get me wrong.  The recycle bin is a great thing to have.  Say you deleted that 40 page report you thought you'd never need again.  Naturally, the next thing that happens is that your boss tells you she would like another copy of it, could you print it out, please.  Don't despair.  You can get it back if you haven't emptied the recycle bin (but that's covered in another tip).

The savers of the world (I am one) would then draw the conclusion that it is perfectly proper to never empty the recycle bin.  You just never know when you'll need that stuff again.

Here's the problem.  You've been saving your trash for the past 6 months.   You just ran out of disk space, causing your computer to thrash about on the floor like a flounder on the dock.  You have to get rid of something, or you'll never be able to work on the computer again.  Your choices are:

  1. Uninstall all useless programs like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.
  2. Empty the recycle bin, for goodness sake.

Please choose one of the above approaches.  Hint:  If you want to keep your job and/or continue to be productive, choose #2.  It's also the easier of the choices.


Once again we are faced with the thrilling prospect of having more than one way to perform a task.  Both methods are valid.  Which one you use will depend on your genera approach to life.

Method 1:

I call this the "daredevil" method.  It's for the kind of person that enjoys throwing things away just for the sake of cleaning.  This type of person would consider sky-diving naked into shark-infested waters with a sword in each hand to be a perfectly reasonable activity.  There's nothing wrong with that, if you like that sort of thing.

  • Right-click on the Recycle Bin on your desktop.
  • Select "Empty Recycle Bin"
  • The computer will stupidly ask you if you really want to delete all this perfectly good stuff.
  • Don't even hesitate.  Immediately click "OK".
  • Casually return to work as your life is flushed down the toilet.

Method 2:

This is the "tread carefully" method.  It's for the faint of heart.   This type of person has every receipt from everything they have purchased since high school.  If a camel backed into your living room and left a sample for you, this is the kind of person who would debate whether or not it should be removed, or if it's bad luck.  Possibly there may be some use for camel dung.

  • Double-click on the Recycle Bin on your desktop.
  • Marvel at how wonderful it is to have all this stuff available to you.
  • Locate the file(s) that you would grudgingly admit could be done away with forever.
  • Click on the file.
  • Click the "File" menu.
  • Select "Delete"
  • The computer, being as cautious as you are, will ask if you really want to delete this.  It's hoping you'll say no.
  • Carefully click "Yes"
  • It will make this poor unfortunate file go away forever.
  • Panic for one moment while you try to convince yourself you really didn't need it.
  • Close the Recycle Bin.
  • Carefully return to work.



Every precaution has been taken to insure that the procedures presented here will not cause damage to your computer system.  However, Mind Over Machines Inc. will not be responsible for any damage caused directly or indirectly by any advice and/or procedures given anywhere on this web site.  Likewise, we cannot be responsible for malfunctions caused by defective hardware, or unforeseen problems which arise from use of the standard Microsoft tools.  If problems do arise, we may attempt to assist in the diagnosis and eventual remedy, but cannot be held liable or bound to do so.

Contents Copyright (c) 1999-2004, Mind Over Machines Inc.

Page last updated 08/28/04.