Methods to Access the Recycle Bin on an External Hard Drive
Summary: In this post, we will be discussing a hidden feature of external storage drives – the recycle bin. We will see how to access it and manage data inside it. And in case you have accidentally deleted some of your files, try using a data recovery tool to recover them easily.
- What is the Purpose of Recycle Bin on an External Hard Drive?
- Where to find the Recycle Bin on an External Hard Drive?
- How to Delete the Recycle Bin Files on an External Storage Drive?
- How to Recover Deleted Files on an External Drive?
- What if the Files Have Been Permanently Deleted?
- Final Words
- Frequently Asked Questions
Does a hard drive have its own recycle bin? How does one access and manage it?
Such questions have been posted countless times on various forums across the internet. Let’s try to find the answer to this.
Recycle Bin is a folder that keeps all the files that have been deleted from their respective locations on a computer. Similarly, external storage devices like hard drives or pen drives, have recycle bins present on them that keep deleted files before they are permanently deleted or overwritten by new data.
Depending upon the file system, different external storage drives have recycle bins with different names, such as $RECYCLE.BIN, RECYCLER, or RECYCLED.
As we all know, when we delete a file, it is never truly removed from the device. Only the pointers and its name from the file table are removed. This makes the space occupied by the unmarked data ready to be overwritten by new data. The deleted data can be recovered easily if the data hasn’t been overwritten. In such a case, file recovery is required. Let’s read further and know more about hidden folder.
What is the Purpose of Recycle Bin on an External Hard Drive?
As mentioned before, Recycle Bin on an external storage device temporarily stores deleted files and data inside it. It acts as an added layer of security and prevents data loss due to accidental deletion.
Where to find the Recycle Bin on an External Hard Drive?
The $RECYCLE.BIN, RECYCLER or RECYCLED folder is a critical location, which is hidden by default. It is located in the root directory of a drive. You can access this folder by making the hidden files and folders visible. To do this –
- Open This PC and navigate to the connected external drive.
- Click on View in the menu bar at the top of the window.
- Locate the Options button and click on the downward arrow.
- Click on Change folder and search options.
- In the next window, click on the View tab and then choose Show hidden files, folders and drives option. Also, uncheck the Hide protected operating system files (Recommended) option.
- Click on Apply and then OK.
This will make the hidden files and folders visible. You will now be able to see the Recycle Bin folder named either $RECYCLE.BIN, RECYCLER, or RECYCLED.
How to Delete the Recycle Bin Files on an External Storage Drive?
Now that we know how to access the Recycle Bin on an external hard drive, let’s learn how to delete files from it. For this, you need to first connect an external storage drive to your computer. Then make the hidden files and folders visible using the method mentioned in the previous section. Once done, locate the recycle bin, double-click on it to open it, and then delete the files present inside it.
Note – In some cases, you won’t be able to delete the files present in the recycle bin of the external drive. This could be due to some errors like the 0x80070091. In this situation, you can take a complete backup of your data and format the external drive to delete the files in the recycle bin on the external drive.
How to Recover Deleted Files on an External Drive?
If you have accidentally deleted important files from an external hard drive’s recycle bin and now require them, you can still get them back. However, the files you deleted should be present in there, and the data shouldn’t have been overwritten by new data. In such a scenario, you can easily restore them by undoing it. However, if they are not present there, you will require a robust data recovery software to recover deleted files that we will discuss in the next section.
What if the Files Have Been Permanently Deleted?
If the files have been permanently deleted from an external hard drive using either SHIFT + DELETE or formatting, you won’t be able to recover them from the its recycle bin.
In this case, you can take help of a specialized hard drive data recovery software like Stellar Data Recovery as the recovery of erased files is not possible without it.
This software‘s powerful data recovery algorithms allow easy recovery of deleted or lost data from any storage media. It can retrieve almost any type of file lost due to system crashes, formatting, accidental deletion, and more. You too can try your hands with this and recover your precious data in a few clicks.
Recycle Bins on hard drives and other external storage devices function like the Recycle Bin present on our computers. However, unlike the latter, they are hidden on the external drives. In this post, we discussed various ways to access the hidden recycle bin present on an external storage drive.
We also touched upon the importance of data recovery from files lost from an external drive’s recycle bin and looked at a powerful data recovery tool. Do let us know in the comments if we have missed any other workable method.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do I find the hidden recycle bin on an external hard drive?
A. Simply open File Explorer > View > Options > View tab > Show hidden files, folders, and drives > Apply > OK.
Q. How do I fix a corrupted recycle bin on my external hard drive?
A. Open CMD (Administrator) > Type rd /s /q X:$Recycle.bin and press Enter. Replace X with the drive letter of your external hard drive. This will delete the recycle bin from that external drive. Restart your computer afterwards and the system will automatically recreate the recycle bin on the hard disk.
Q. Do all USB drives have Recycle Bin?
A. Yes, all storage drives including USB drives have their own recycle bin where the deleted files are moved.