By Delia / Last update January 17, 2022

Recycle Bin is a feature that Windows uses to remove various unwanted junk files. When you choose to delete a file with the right-click delete feature, it will be moved to the Recycle Bin, and you can always choose to recover it, or erase it completely.

By default, you should already have a Recycle Bin shortcut icon on your desktop. If you don't have one, you can enable it or create one yourself by the same way you create a normal shortcut.

Here are the details of how to enable or create a Recycle Bin shortcut, the same steps apply to Windows 11, 10, 8.1, and 7.

recycle bin

1. Enable Recycle Bin icon on the desktop

Note that the default taskbar icon cannot be pinned to the taskbar - if you want to do that, create a normal shortcut manually in the next way.

First, right-click on the blank space on the desktop and select the "Personalize" option in the pop-up menu.

Once you select it, a settings screen will appear, find the "Theme" option on the left side of the settings screen and click it.

After clicking it, scroll down on the right side and find the "Desktop Icon Settings" option.

desktop icon settings

Click on it and you will see the desktop icon selection screen.

Check the "Recycle Bin" box and click "Apply" and "OK" to enable the Recycle Bin option on your desktop.

set desktop icons

To delete the default Recycle Bin shortcut on the desktop, just uncheck "Recycle Bin" and confirm it.

2. Create a desktop shortcut of Recycle Bin

First, right-click the desktop and select the "New" → "Shortcut" option to display the Create Shortcut window.

Type "explorer.exe shell:RecycleBinFolder" in the "Type the location of the object" text box, and then click the Next button.

type the location of the object

In the Type a name for this shortcut box, enter a name, such as "Recycle Bin".

Click the "Finish" button to add the new shortcut to the desktop.

name shortcut

The shortcut shows the File Explorer icon, but you can change it to a more appropriate icon for the Recycle Bin. To do this, right-click on the desktop shortcut and select "Properties", then press the "Change Icon" button to open a window.

change recycle bin icon

In the Find icons in this file text box type "%SystemRoot%\system32\imageres.dll", press Enter, then select a recycle bin icon, click the "OK" button, then click "Apply", and "OK".

You can also download a new Recycle Bin icon from the Internet, and then you can select the downloaded icon by clicking "Browse" in the "Change Icon" window.

3. How to add the Recycle Bin to the Windows 11 Taskbar

After adding the Recycle Bin as a desktop shortcut, you can choose to pin it to the taskbar, just like any other shortcut.

Right-click on the new Recycle Bin shortcut, then select the Pin to taskbar option (if you are using Windows 11, you need to click "Show more options" first).

Now that the Recycle Bin shortcut is on the taskbar, you can click the icon to open and empty the Recycle Bin. If you want to delete it, right-click on the Recycle Bin icon and select the Unpin from Taskbar option. You can also erase the desktop shortcut you set by right-clicking and selecting "Delete".