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Remove The Windows Recycle Bin From Your Desktop

As useful as the Microsoft Windows Recycle Bin might be, if you’re like me… (sorry, didn’t mean to scare anyone) it’s one of those “things” which rarely gets used if “ever.” Rather than ignore it, here’s a simple step by step “How-To” remove it from your desktop.

Note: Before you start, I highly recommended you FIRST disable the Recycle Bin. Click Here to read the step by step article.


1. Begin by clicking the Start button on the bottom-left hand corner of your Desktop.



2. Click Run from the Start menu



3. Click in the White box and Type: gpedit.msc then click OK.



Welcome to the Group Policy Window!


4. Click the plus sign to expand User Configuration. Under User Configuration expand Administrative Templates. Next, under Administrative Templates, click Desktop.



5. On the right side of the Group Policy window, the Desktop submenu will appear. Right-click on the option Remove Recycle Bin icon from desktop. Then left-click Properties.



6. A new window will now open titled Remove Recycle Bin icon from desktop Properties. Click to select the Enabled option. Then click OK to finish.



All Done! The Recycle Bin is now removed from your desktop, and your desktop is that much cleaner! Note: If after completing these steps you still see the Recycle Bin on your desktop, left click a blank spot on your screen and press F5 to refresh your desktop, and the Recycle Bin should be gone.


Background – What the heck was that “Group Policy thing???: If you are new to Group Policy, think of it as nothing more than all the settings which configure your PC or Server. As Microsoft puts it:

Group Policy settings define the various components of the user’s desktop environment that a system administrator needs to manage, for example, the programs that are available to users, the programs that appear on the user’s desktop, and options for the Start menu…… blah blah blah….

Essentially, Group Policy Object’s or “GPO’s” are specific areas of your “REGISTRY” with a nice GUI. They are usually configured centrally by Active Directory Administrators aka Your Company IT guy.

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Possible Issues: If you’re not able to complete steps 5 and 6 (they are grayed out), and you’re using a company provided PC, your Windows XP or Vista box might already have Group Policy (GPO) assigned to it by your Corporate IT guy. If this is the case, you won’t be able to make these changes. The same goes if you’re not logged in as a local Administrator.


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10 Responses to Remove The Windows Recycle Bin From Your Desktop

  1. Tam August 27, 2007 at 10:35 pm #

    Very cool. Never knew you could remove the recycle bin. Gone baby Gone!

  2. Scooter January 8, 2009 at 3:06 pm #

    did every step but stuck at step 4 cause under “Administrative Templates” i do not have a desktop folder to open. Now what can i do?

  3. groovyCrew January 8, 2009 at 5:42 pm #

    @Scooter: make sure you are under User Configuration and not Computer Configuration.
    User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Dekstop
    It’s easy to confuse the two.

  4. Scooter January 9, 2009 at 5:05 pm #

    GroovyCrew: Thanks for the advice but thats not it. I really don’t have “Desktop” under “User Configuration/Administrative Templates” i have sp2. i have used this trick before on a different machine. The under folder under “Administrative Templates” is “Windows Components” nothing else. i wonder if it is because i’m doing a duel boot with vista?

  5. MrGroove January 12, 2009 at 12:21 am #

    @Scooter – Are you logged into the desktop with Administrative rights?

  6. Scooter January 12, 2009 at 3:58 pm #

    GroovyCrew: yes i’m logged on as administrator.

  7. Jeneration January 16, 2009 at 9:04 pm #

    My gpedit.msc folder does not exist.
    “Windows cannot find ‘gpedit.msc’. Make sure you typed the name correctly, then try again. To search for a file, click…. blah blah”
    Yes, I am logged in as an admin.
    I am on Windows XP home edition.

  8. MrGroove January 17, 2009 at 1:58 pm #

    @Jeneration , @Scooter – Let’s move this into the forum where we can chat a little easier and include screenshots. I created a new Topic along with what should be a Fix for both you here:


  9. MrGroove January 17, 2009 at 2:05 pm #

    Readers – Comments are closed on this Article.


    Please leave all future Comments and Questions on the Article Comment Thread in the Forum:


    Forum Discussion Thread


    Thank you!



  10. grant August 1, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    Thanks! That’s awesome and much better than having to use Tweak UI.