Set the recycle bin to automatically empty in Windows 10 and 11

Here's how to automatically delete old files in the Windows 10 and 11 recycle bin.

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In the Windows operating system, the Recycle Bin is where all deleted files are stored by default. That is, when you delete a file or folder, the file is sent to the recycle bin and remains there until you permanently delete it from there.

And this is because the default settings of Windows do not automatically empty the recycle bin, so it can only be emptied manually.

If you frequently delete files, chances are that your recycle bin contains a significant number of files. For users who don't want to manually delete files from the recycle bin, Windows 10/11 offers a handy option to automatically delete files after a certain amount of time.

That is, in Windows 10/11, you can set the recycle bin to automatically delete the files it contains and which have been introduced into it over 1 day, 14 days, 30 days and 60 days.

Here's how you can set this up:

Windows 10
step 1: Go to Windows 10 Settings > System > Storage.

step 2: Click the button present in the Storage section to change it from inactive to active. This, according to Windows, will automatically free up space by deleting files you don't need such as temporary files and the contents of the recycle bin.

storage recycle bin 1 windows 10

step 3: With Storage active, click “Configure storage control or run now”

step 4: Here from the “Run storage check” drop down menu select “Monthly”

step 5: In the Temporary files section, set an option from the drop-down menu under “Delete files in the recycle bin if they've been there for over”. We recommend that you choose the 60-day option.

storage recycle bin 2 windows 10

In addition, if you want, you can set the files to be automatically deleted from the Download folder after a few days of not being opened.

Windows 11
step 1: In Windows 11, go to Settings > System > Storage .

step 2: In the Storage Management section, make sure that “Storage Sense” is enabled.

storage recycle bin 1 windows 11

step 3: Click on the right arrow next to the enable button of step 2. Here, make sure that Auto cleanup of user content is enabled. If required, enable the option.

storage recycle bin 2 windows 11

step 4: Next, under “Set purge schedules”, select an option from the drop-down menu under “Delete files in my recycle bin if they've been there for more than” .

You can choose a choice from the available 1 day, 14 day, 30 day and 60 day options. We suggest you choose either the 60 day option.

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Written by Dimitris

Dimitris hates on Mondays .....

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