What files are displayed in the PC Windows 7 Recycle Bin?

Michael T February 18, 2014
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When I open my Windows 7 recycle bin, it displays a full family tree (directory), and appears to display ALL files and not just deleted files. This does not seem correct to me. Can you identify what files should be displayed and what structure (family tree (directory). As an experiment I opened a folder in the recycle bin labelled Desktop on the directory to display numerous icons, which appeared to be all those on the normal Desktop. I selected the Google Earth icon (which I knew i could download again if it deleted from my real desktop) right clicked and deleted it. I then closed the recycle bin, and examined my normal desktop only to find my Google Earth icon had disappeared. I then of course downloaded Google Earth again. I have come to the conclusion that either I do not know how the recycle bin is supposed to work or my software is faulty.

  1. Curtis James McConnell
    February 20, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    I once accidentally dragged the My Computer icon to a Win95 Briefcase. When I deleted the Briefcase it populated my entire (duplicate) My Computer folder into the recycle bin. I had to reinstall Windows. You're not supposed to be able to, but maybe (if your Computer icon is near your Recycle Bin on your desktop) you bumped the Computer icon into the recycle bin. Try Ctrl A (select all) in the Recycle Bin, then right clicking and hitting Restore. This may or may not duplicate all your files, but I'm guessing since Windows won't delete itself that the items in your Recycle Bin are just a list of all the files in your C directory, and not the files themselves. Either way, step one is always Back Up Your Data.

    • Mike T
      February 21, 2014 at 3:08 pm

      Thanks for that, it sounded a possibility. However having run the microsoft fix as recommended by Orun J, which found a problem and fixed it, plus a better understanding of the structure/ format of the bin the problem has been fixed, but thank you anyway

  2. Michael T
    February 18, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    I agree with you. It is logical that the recycle bin should only contain deleted files. However I have opened 2 windows, one for Windows Explorer and the other the recycle bin. I have gone down the directories in unison, and at at all stages they display the same folders and files. It is as if when I click the recycle bin icon I open Windows explorer. In an attempt to locate it, I right clicked the Recycle bin icon and selected "properties" to trace its location, but no location is identified.

    • Anonymous
      February 19, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      Thanks for the reply. I will let you know if I am successful, and will backup as you suggest.

  3. Oron J
    February 18, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    It sounds like your bin has become corrupt and points to your Home Directory. There are several ways this can happen (symlinks, APPEND, "magic number" corruption etc) but the bottom line is it's happened.

    You could try to repair the bin, but make sure to back up all your important data before you do so since any "repair" may end up deleting your home directory! Alternatively, create a new user account, move all your data there and use it. Once you have ascertained that all is well you can delete the old account (or not, it shouldn't really matter).

    If you do decide to repair the bin, you could go to http://support.microsoft.com/fixit/ and run the first fix under "Windows".

    • Mike T
      February 21, 2014 at 3:13 pm

      Thanks for that. I ran the microsoft fix as you recommended, it found a problem and fixed it. That and a better understanding of the structure/ format of the bin have fixed the problem. Many thanks

  4. Hovsep A
    February 18, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    well perhaps something went wrong when you tried to delete a file and perhaps you deleted the parent folder, like wrong selection of the file. Recycle bin should contain only the files/folders that you deleted.

    • Mike T
      February 21, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      Thanks. The problem has been resolved(see reply to OrunJ. Many thanks.

    • Hovsep A
      February 21, 2014 at 9:46 pm

      congratulation, glad that Oron solution worked for you:), if you wish from your Makeuseof account just select Oron answer for best answer so that to close this thread as solved.

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