Has the Recycle Bin changed in Win10?

Or maybe it changed long ago and I don’t use it enough to remember.
I deleted some photos days ago and want one restored. Went to the Bin and it’s totally different than I remember.

In the right panel, there is one file I deleted last night.
There should be many hundreds…! Have not emptied it in ages.
Tried every tab / link…nothing.

Am I doing something wrong?

You may have the case where the recycle bin can is automatically being emptied.


Here are some programs which might help you: The 21 Best Free Data Recovery Software Tools of 2024

They say nothing ever disappears on the Internet. This is somewhat true for Windows and other operating systems as well.

Over the years, I’ve experienced various issues with the Recycle Bin (previously called the Trash Can in older Windows versions). It took Microsoft a while to implement a proper file recovery system. Initially, when you deleted a file, Windows just changed the filename, making recovery difficult because part of the name was erased.

I suggested to Microsoft in the 90s to simply toggle the first character of the filename (e.g., change “ABCDE.EXE” to “aBCDE.EXE”), making it easier to restore. Instead, they set the first character to NULL, making it hard to identify the original name. Recovery programs required users to rename files manually, even though the data remained on the disk until overwritten.

HP mainframes used a different approach, marking files as deleted via a bit in the file label, making recovery straightforward by just unsetting the bit. This method preserved the file until the system needed the space, avoiding partial deletions.

Nowadays, Windows has improved this process. You can restore files from the Recycle Bin, which stores deleted files in a $RECYCLE.BIN folder on each drive. The system displays the contents of these folders and permanently deletes the file information when you empty the Recycle Bin.

MS creates space on each drive for the $RECYCLE BIN and for saving disk recovery information. You can adjust how much space is used for that in the SYSTEMS setting. That space also allows you to use SYSTEM RECOVERY on the computer and go back to pevious states before some files were modified or lost.

For recovering deleted files, I recommend trying file recovery programs that scan the drive for file labels.

Never have found that folder, but I’ll just be more careful what I delete.

You have to enable hidden files in Explorer and File Manager (winfile).

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I think Windows ignores the case of letters in a file name. ABCDE.EXE and abcde.exe are exactly the same.

Back then they did not. All filenames were saved as upper case and the ignored that there might be lower case. Let’s say that they forced all t oupper case. The special characters like NULL and so on were ignored and not processed. Thus you could use other items in the ASCII collating sequence besides null to map to the first charcter in the file name. A better choice would have been to assign a bit in the file label to say the file was deleted (like HP did) where it could be toggled on and off. Most programs would not have to modified because they only worked with non-dleted files. Programs to recover files, perhaps rename files and programs to finally delete the file contents are the only ones which would need to actually look at that bit in the label.

Thanks Lava, Learn something new every day! I thought what I said 2 posts ago was true since the DOS days!