Whenever we delete something on Windows, it is typically sent to the recycle bin. This usually gives users a chance to recover those files in case they were deleted by accident. But did you know that until you actually empty the recycle bin, the files you “deleted” actually still take up storage space on your computer?

This is why it’s important to empty the recycle bin every now and then, but we get it, sometimes you don’t think about it or forget to do it, but the good news is that if you have a few minutes to spare, you can actually set it up in such a way that you can set it so that you can automatically empty your recycle bin on a schedule, and here’s how.

How to empty your recycle bin on a schedule

  1. Go to Settings > System > Storage
  2. Under Storage sense, make sure the toggle is turned to On
  3. Click Configure Storage sense or run it now
  4. Under Temporary Files, look for “Delete files in my recycle bin if they have been there for over”
  5. From the drop-down menu, you can choose “Never”, 1 day, 14 days, 30 days, or 60 days

Assuming you didn’t choose “Never”, this means that depending on your duration, your recycle bin will actually automatically empty itself based on the number of days you’ve chosen. Unless you’re hard up on storage space, 30 days is a good duration as it will at the very least give you some time to recover files that you might have deleted by accident or if you have had a change of heart about a deleted file.

Do take note that once you’ve emptied out the recycle bin, they are essentially gone for “good”. We put “good” in quotes because there are actually ways to recover deleted files using third-party software, but your mileage may vary depending on the software and how long ago it’s been deleted.

The best thing you can do to avoid any hassle or headaches is to make sure that you really want those files deleted first. Also if you’re deleting to free up space on your computer, you might want to consider backing up to an external hard drive or cloning your existing drive so that you will still have a copy if you ever need it.

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