How to permanently delete files by skipping Recycle Bin in Windows [Guide]

The Window Recycle Bin is not a recycling bin for nothing. Deleted documents fall into the Recycle Bin where you can recover them. This is intended to allow you to easily restore files if you ever have second thoughts or if you ever accidentally deleted something. To permanently delete the files, you then have to empty the contents of the Recycle Bin.

If you find this behavior a bit annoying and would prefer to skip Recycle Bin every time you delete a file, you can do that in a couple of ways. This guide will show you how, but make sure you really want to skip Recycle Bin — because after you change this setting, if you ever want to recover a deleted file or folder, you won’t be able to go to Recycle Bin… you will have to use data recovery software.

That said, are a couple of ways to bypass Recycle Bin when you delete a file. We will discuss both. (Both methods should work on Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8 — but we’ve only tested it on Windows 7.)

How to permanently delete files by skipping Recycle Bin in Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8

Firstly, open Windows Explorer (aka open your desktop or a folder).From Windows Explorer, select a file to delete. Then right-click the file, and hold the Shift key. Whilst pressing the Shift key, select the Delete option. Alternatively, select the file and press Shift + Delete. A Delete File window will then open asking, “Are you sure you want to permanently delete this file?” Click on the Yes option to delete it.

Recycle Bin

That’s one way you can bypass the Recycle Bin for specific document files.

Aside from that, you can also deactivate the Recycle Bin so that deleted files always bypass it. To do so, right-click the Recycle Bin icon; and then select Properties to open the window below.

Recycle Bin 2

From that window click on the Don’t move files to the Recycle Bin check-box option. Click Apply and OK to close the window. Then any deleted file will always bypass the Recycle Bin.

Bypassing the Recycle Bin removes any requirement to empty it and saves disc storage. However, be sure that you really want to do this because recovering accidentally deleted files is a lot harder once you remove Recycle Bin out of the equation. Enjoy!

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  1. David Roper

    Okay, Ghuru buddies, how do I delete a zero byte file named Atlantis.exe on my desktop. It’s not Read Only and after apparent deletion, it pops back during the day/ REVO PRO cannot even find it when its on the desktop.??? WTF? What the File?

  2. RobCr

    I just posted a long comment, and hit ‘Post Comment’ It then went to your error screen to get me to log in. When I returned, all my typing was in a Galaxy far, far away.(Mutter, mutter)
    Can you prevent that ?
    Or can you tell me why your site does not log me in automatically ?
    PS Instead of my long post (which I ain’t typing again), the last line was – ‘Always check the number of files that the warning Dialog shows’

  3. Netpilot

    Actually, I use Shift/Del or Shift/(Click)Delete all the time to keep my Recycle Bin empty. I’ve trained myself to pay attention to the ‘Are you sure?’ dialog and think before I confirm with ‘Yes’. I haven’t had to recover a file for as long as I can remember.

    I was not aware I could bypass the Recycle Bin without the Shift, but WITH a warning by default. I’m going to try that.

    Edit: Undo gets disabled for a permanent file delete but I have history enabled to rely on – just in case….