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1.14: Deleting Files and Folders

  • Page ID
    14628
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    Learning Outcomes

    • Delete and restore files and folders using the Recycle Bin.

    To delete a file or folder (or multiple selected files), right-click on the file and select Delete. You can also select the file and hit the Delete key on the keyboard. Deleting a folder deletes all its contents as well.

    A highlighted file that had been right clicked on, displaying an option to delete the file.

    You may get a dialog prompt that asks if you want to move the file to the recycling bin. If that happens, say yes. If you didn’t get a dialog prompt, the file was still sent to the Recycle Bin. (The Mac equivalent is called Trash.) Deleted files are not gone forever; they are sent to the Recycle Bin.

    Recycling Bin

    An empty recycle bin on the left and a full recycle bin on the right.
    An empty and occupied Recycle Bin

    Deleted files are not gone forever. When a file is deleted, it is sent to the Recycle Bin. The Recycle Bin can be found on the Desktop. Its icon resembles a recycle bin or trash can, and the icon changes depending on whether the Recycle Bin contains any files.

    The recycle bin is a holding place for deleted files. To permanently delete a file, you can delete it again from the Recycle Bin, or you can empty the Recycle Bin. It is recommended you empty the Recycle Bin every once in a while to free up space.

    If you delete something by accident, or if you change your mind about a deleted file, you can un-delete it by restoring the file from the Recycle Bin.

    To restore or permanently delete a file, right-click on the file and select either Restore or Delete. Deleted files are permanently deleted; restored files are restored to their original location before being deleted.

    A recycle bin with the option to restore a recycled file easily accessible after double clicking on the file.
    Right-clicking a file

    You can restore or permanently delete individual files or multiple files at once using the Manage option on the toolbar.

    A recycle bin showing the multiple options on how to manage the bin.

    In the toolbar in the screenshot above, from left to right:

    • Empty Recycle Bin: Permanently deletes everything in the Recycle Bin.
    • Recycle Bin properties: Allows you to choose how much space to allot to the Recycle Bin. When the Recycle Bin reaches capacity, it will automatically delete its oldest files. The Recycle Bin properties also has an option to automatically delete files permanently. (Unless you know what you are doing, it is recommended you leave Recycle Bin properties alone.)
    • Restore all items: Restores everything in the Recycle Bin to its former location.
    • Restore the selected items: Restores only the file or files you have selected.

    Contributors and Attributions

    CC licensed content, Original

    1.14: Deleting Files and Folders is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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