How to delete the Recycle Bin icon from your desktop

| July 3, 2007 | 22 Comments

In Microsoft Windows XP, you can easily remove My Computer and other icons from your desktop using the Desktop Properties dialog. That said, you can’t do the same for the Recycle Bin.

Here’s how you can remove the Recycle Bin from your Windows XP desktop:

The implementation of the following tweak involves the manipulation of the Windows registry. This is an advanced task that if done incorrectly can render your operating system useless and cause a severe data loss. Implement this trick at your own risk.

  • First of all, make a backup of the registry file. Use the instructions provided in section 2 here.
  • Open the registry editor by navigating to Start >> Run, typing regedit.exe and hitting enter
  • Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\
  • Delete this key: {645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}
  • Restart, the Recycle Bin has now gone from your desktop

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Category: Windows XP

Comments (22)

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  1. kuanhoong says:

    Hmm, usually I will just go to Desktop right-click properties then select customize desktop and remove it from there

  2. dEEPAK says:

    good tip.. I always like my desktop clean.. So I used the option in desktop properties to hide icons on desktop.. but that was troublesome as it also hid the files downloaded by firefox..

  3. Mr.Byte says:

    I also like a cleaner desktop and it makes your PC look good….

  4. unRheal says:

    kuanhoong: This being in “Windows XP Tweaks” – and removing the desktop icon from right-clicking the desktop -> Properties -> Desktop Tab -> Customize Desktop – as you suggest you are doing – Is not an option in Windows XP, like the original post states… And while it can be done in windows Vista – it’s not the same steps as you suggest… Making your comment worse than useless… Just thought I’d set the record straight, for people who may not know otherwise.

  5. DataDoug says:

    Instead of hacking your registry, RIGHT click on the DESKTOP, select PERSONALIZE. On the left side of the window (near the top) select CHANGE DESKTOP ICONS, uncheck RECYCLE BIN.

  6. DataDoug says:

    Sorry, previous post is for VISTA

  7. john says:

    Tried it with ObjectDock, but deleting recycle from desktop will disable recycle bin icon in ObjectDock too…

  8. Shawolf says:

    Excellent comments ~ I found my answer even though it is not posted here. For those of you using XP wanting to remove your Recycle bin icon you may find this useful (depending on exact goal). Using XP PRO(may not be same for home edition) you right click on your desktop and highlight; “Arrange Icons By”, (top choice) it will expand and you will see “Show Desktop Icons”. If you click it (uncheck it) than your recycle bin will be removed. If you want it back simply recheck the box. If you forget where things are frequently you may want to click and hold your recycle bin, drag it to another folder so you have a shortcut to it in an alternate folder ~ hope this helps someone.

  9. Grey says:

    erm? Any of you guys heard of group policy editor?
    Start – Run – gpedit.msc
    User Config. – Admin. Templates – Desktop – Remove recycle bin from Desktop.

    It’s a hell of a lot easier and safer then registry hacks. There’s all sorts of other interesting things to do in gpedit as well.
    ie: Remove logoff button from the start menu if you’re a single user computer.
    User Config. – Admin. Templates – Start Menu and Taskbar – Remove Logoff on Start Menu

    You can seriously tweak ur system with gpedit.

  10. ego says:

    does anybody lose there wallpaper when removing the recycle icon

  11. AJ says:

    If anybody is trying to do this because they are trying to make their desktop appear to be a MAC OS just drag the recycle bin to where you eventually want to drop your dock. You can just cover it up and doesn’t require deleting things from your registry.

  12. Seth says:

    Or you could do it the easy way on both OS’s. In the RUN prompt type gpedit.msc once that open go to Administrative Templates -> Desktop -> then toggle the “Remove Recycle Bin from Desktop” option. Why more people don’t use gpedit.msc for things like this is beyond me. Pretty much anything can be controlled through here.

  13. Jason says:


    Thanks for providing a real answer. Hacking the registry isn’t always the best or safest option. This is awesome and now I can show it back if I need it without having to go through much trouble.

  14. jamie says:

    “Why more people don’t use gpedit.msc for things like this is beyond me.”

    because gpedit.msc doesn’t work on every computer. like mine, for example. :/ but since i’ve seen the original method used in several forums, i guess i’ll try it.

  15. Eat2Live says:

    When I do this my wallpaper disappears and I can’t get it back. I try changing the wallpaper in every which way, even restarting after I do so, but it doesn’t appear. I am running XP Home Edition. Does anyone know what is wrong?

  16. Mujtaba says:

    Well thanks for telling me how to remove recycle bin from desktop and i was going to remove it how the way this website says but when i read the comments i am a little afraid now that when remove the registry it will hack the Pc and second the wallpaper also will be removed. And the people commented that right click on desktop and customize desktop but there is no recycle bin option to uncheck it?:O I have XP. And even if i delete by deleting the registry then how i will get back the recycle?

  17. Falcon says:

    Shawolf…I love your answer, it was the most simple, easy click of a mouse, and got me the result I wanted, to not see my recycle bin icon on my desktop. I am using Stardock, followed all the examples from other sites, barring any registry hacks, not worth it for this simple purpose, and followed the gpedit directions, lost background as well. This was the last place I looked, ready to give up..and there was your beautiful answer. I also have XP Pro..SP3…and worked like a charm. Your instructions if followed won’t let you down. Thank You Very Much.

  18. Anonymous says:

    +1 for Shawolf’s solution


  20. Gina says:

    Thanks Shawolf :)

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