How to Show the Recycle Bin in Windows 8: A Step-by-Step Guide

To show the Recycle Bin in Windows 8, you just have to right-click on the desktop, select ‘Personalize’, click on ‘Change desktop icons’ on the left-hand panel, and then select the ‘Recycle Bin’ checkbox. Once you click ‘Apply’, the Recycle Bin icon will appear on your desktop.

After completing this action, the Recycle Bin icon will be visible on your desktop, allowing you to easily access deleted files and manage your trash.


Let’s face it, we’ve all been there – that moment of panic when you realize you’ve deleted something important and can’t seem to find the Recycle Bin on your Windows 8 desktop. For many users, the Recycle Bin is like a safety net, catching those files you might have discarded accidentally. Whether you’re a Windows 8 beginner or just need a refresher, showing the Recycle Bin on your desktop can be vital for your daily computing tasks.

Windows 8, with its sleek, modern interface, brought a lot of changes to the familiar Windows experience. While change is good, it can sometimes lead to confusion, especially when it comes to finding those icons and shortcuts we’ve grown accustomed to. The Recycle Bin is one such icon that is not immediately visible on the Windows 8 desktop, but fear not, it’s not gone for good! This article is relevant for anyone who uses Windows 8 and wants to access their Recycle Bin directly from their desktop for ease of use. So let’s dive into the simple steps to get that trusty old bin back where you can see it.

Step by Step Tutorial: Show the Recycle Bin in Windows 8

The following steps will guide you through the process of displaying the Recycle Bin on your Windows 8 desktop.

Step 1: Right-click on the Desktop

Begin by right-clicking on an empty space on your desktop.

This action will open up a context menu that provides various options for customizing your desktop environment.

Step 2: Select ‘Personalize’

From the context menu, click on ‘Personalize’ to open the Personalization control panel.

This will take you to a page where you can change your computer’s theme, background, and desktop icons, among other settings.

Step 3: Click on ‘Change desktop icons’

On the left-hand side of the Personalization window, you will see an option labeled ‘Change desktop icons’. Click on this link.

This step will direct you to the ‘Desktop Icon Settings’ window where you can manage which standard icons appear on your desktop.

Step 4: Select the ‘Recycle Bin’ checkbox

In the Desktop Icon Settings window, you will see a list of icons. Find and select the checkbox next to ‘Recycle Bin’.

By selecting this checkbox, you are instructing Windows 8 to display the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop.

Step 5: Click ‘Apply’ and ‘OK’

After selecting the Recycle Bin checkbox, click the ‘Apply’ button followed by ‘OK’ to confirm your changes.

Your desktop will now display the Recycle Bin icon, allowing you to drag and drop files to delete or recover previously deleted items easily.


Easy AccessHaving the Recycle Bin directly on the desktop provides quick and easy access to deleted files.
Better File ManagementWith the Recycle Bin visible, users can manage their deleted files more effectively, restoring or permanently deleting them as needed.
A Safer Computing ExperienceThe Recycle Bin acts as a safety net, giving users a chance to recover files that may have been accidentally deleted.


Takes Up Desktop SpaceThe Recycle Bin icon can contribute to a cluttered desktop, especially for users who prefer a clean workspace.
Accidental DeletionsWith easier access to the Recycle Bin, users might accidentally delete important files more frequently.
Aesthetic DisruptionFor users who value the sleek design of the Windows 8 interface, the Recycle Bin icon can disrupt the visual aesthetic of the desktop.

Additional Information

While the above steps are an easy way to get the Recycle Bin back on your desktop, there are a few additional things to keep in mind. For instance, if you’re using a tablet or a touchscreen device, you might have to navigate to the Personalization settings through the ‘Settings’ charm. Also, remember that the Recycle Bin is not the only icon you can add to your desktop. The same steps can be applied to show the ‘Computer’, ‘User’s Files’, ‘Network’, and ‘Control Panel’ icons, which can be just as handy for quick access.

Sometimes, you might find that the Recycle Bin gets full or doesn’t seem to work correctly. In such cases, you can empty the bin or even reset it by using the command prompt – a neat trick that can come in handy for troubleshooting.

Remember to periodically check and empty your Recycle Bin to keep your computer running smoothly. After all, those deleted files aren’t really gone until you’ve cleared them out of the bin. It’s part of good computer hygiene, just like clearing your browser history or running regular antivirus scans.


  1. Right-click on the desktop and select ‘Personalize’.
  2. Click on ‘Change desktop icons’.
  3. Select the ‘Recycle Bin’ checkbox.
  4. Click ‘Apply’ and ‘OK’.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if the ‘Change desktop icons’ link is not present?

Check to ensure you’re in the correct Personalization window, or try accessing it through the Control Panel.

Can I change the Recycle Bin icon?

Yes, within the ‘Desktop Icon Settings’, you can choose to change the Recycle Bin icon to a custom one.

Why can’t I see the files I deleted in the Recycle Bin?

Files deleted from removable media or larger files beyond the bin’s capacity do not appear in the Recycle Bin.

How do I empty the Recycle Bin?

Right-click on the Recycle Bin icon and select ‘Empty Recycle Bin’.

Can I recover files after emptying the Recycle Bin?

Once the Recycle Bin is emptied, you’ll need specialized software to recover the files, which may not always be successful.


Now that you know how to show the Recycle Bin in Windows 8, you can manage your deleted files with ease and maintain a cleaner, more organized desktop. Remember that while keeping the Recycle Bin icon handy is convenient, being mindful of what you delete and regularly emptying the bin are good practices to avoid any unintended data loss. So go ahead, take control of your Windows 8 desktop, and never lose track of your deleted files again.

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