Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Remember the Recycle Bin

The Recycle Bin has been a feature of Windows since Windows 95 and has counterparts in both Mac OS and Linux. It has been provided specifically to make it easy for users to recover deleted files.

In effect, the Recycle Bin is a special folder where files go when you delete them so they are not really deleted and may easily be recovered. Unfortunately the Recycle Bin does have some limitations. Files are only deleted to the Recycle Bin if they were on your main hard drive, not removable drives, USB Flash drives, memory cards or network drives and only if they are deleted from the desktop or Windows Explorer, not from within an application. Very large files, for example videos, often are not moved to the Recycle Bin. And it's easy to bypass the bin by holding the Shift key whilst deleting.

What's more, the little icon on the desktop showing a full Recycle Bin encourages tidy minded people to empty it. With today's large, fast hard drives there is little to be gained from this, and emptying the Recycle Bin makes it somewhat ineffective as a recovery tool for deleted files.

I would not be surprised if some people have resorted to using data recovery software like Uneraser to recover deleted files that could have been restored from the Recycle Bin. Either they forget about the Recycle Bin or they fail to spot that the file they want is in it.

It can be difficult to find a file if there are a large number of items in the Recycle Bin. But Windows provides several ways to help you find the file you want. If you select Details View of the Recycle Bin folder then you can sort the items into alphabetical order of name, location or file type, into order of date deleted or last modified, or into size order. This can make it it easier to spot what you are looking for. There is also a search function to locate files containing specified text.

So remember the Recycle Bin when you lose a file and don't be in too much of a hurry to empty it. And if you can't find the file you need, try Uneraser.