Restoring a Lost Recycle Bin

Tech Tip

If your desktop Recycle Bin is nowhere to be found after you upgraded to Windows 10, here are some ways to get the icon back where it belongs.

Q. When I installed Windows 10 to replace the older system, I lost the desktop Recycle Bin. I have gone through steps to show the bin icon, but I was not successful. Do you have any additional advice?

A. The hidden Recycle Bin issue also plagues users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 as well as those who have upgraded to Windows 10. Microsoft’s support site has a guide to show or hide the Recycle Bin, but if you have already tried the Windows 10 advice (open the Settings app, go to Personalization, then Themes to Desktop Icon Settings and click the box next to Recycle Bin) there is another setting to check.

In the Desktop Icon Settings box, you can choose which icons you wish to show (or hide) on your Windows desktop.CreditThe New York Times

Windows 10 is designed to work on both desktop and mobile devices, so it is possible that your computer is in Tablet Mode, which does not show desktop icons. Go to the Start menu to Settings and select System. Choose Tablet Mode on the left side of the box and make sure the buttons next to “Hide app icons on the taskbar in tablet mode” and “Automatically hide the taskbar in tablet mode” are set to the Off position.

If you still do not see the taskbar or icons on the desktop, check your Windows 10 settings to make sure the system is not in Tablet Mode.CreditThe New York Times

If those steps fail to restore the Recycle Bin icon, it may have been deleted. To recreate it, open Windows File Explorer, select the View tab and choose Options on the right. In the Folder Options box, click the View tab, select the button next to “Show hidden files, folders and drives” and turn off the box next to “Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)” before clicking the Apply and O.K. buttons. Return to File Explorer and on the right side choose This PC and open OS (C:) or C: Drive. Right-click $Recycle.Bin, and when the Send To menu pops up, choose “Desktop (create shortcut).”

Personal Tech invites questions about computer-based technology to This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually.

J.D. Biersdorfer has been answering technology questions — in print, on the web, in audio and in video — since 1998. She also writes the Sunday Book Review’s “Applied Reading” column on ebooks and literary apps, among other things.@jdbiersdorfer