How to Enable or Disable the Recycle Bin for Removable Drives in Windows 11

This article describes steps you can take to enable or disable the recycle bin for removable or external drives in Windows 11.

The Recycle bin holds items that are temporarily deleted. Items will stay in the Recycle bin until the bin is emptied or restored by the user.

In a multi-drives computer, each drive or partition will have its own hidden $Recycle.Bin system folder and settings.

By default, removable drives such as USB flash drives and memory cards do not have a Recycle Bin. When you delete items on these drives, they are permanently deleted and cannot be restored.

If you want to provide some added protection so that you don’t lose items accidentally deleted from externally connected drives, you can enable the Recycle bin for removable drives, and the steps below show you how.

Add or remove the Recycle bin for removable drives in Windows 11

As described above, by default, removable drives such as USB flash drives and memory cards do not have a Recycle Bin.

For additional protection, you can enable the Recycle bin for removable drives to protect against the accidental deletion of items.

Here’s how to enable it in Windows 11.

First, open the Windows Registry, and navigate to each of the folder key paths as listed below.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

and the one below also.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

If you don’t see the Explorer folder key, right-click on the Policies parent key, then create the subkey (Explorer) folder.

windows enable recycle bin registry
windows enable recycle bin registry

On the right pane of the Explorer folder key, right-click and select New -> DWORD (32-bit) Value. Type a new key named RecycleBinDrives.

Double-click the new value name (RecycleBinDrives) and enter the Value data of ffffffff under Base (Hexadecimal) to enable the Recycle bin for removable drives.

If you leave it empty or delete the value name, the Recycle bin for removable drives will be disabled.

windows enable recycle bin registry value data updated
windows enable recycle bin registry value data to update

Repeat the same for the second Registry folder key path and do the same as demonstrated above.

At the root of each removable drive, you should see a hidden Recycle Bin folder. You must show hidden “Protection operating system files” to view hidden files and folders.

enable or disable removeale drives on windows
enable or disable removable drives on windows

That should do it! Restart your computer for the changes to apply.

Conclusion:

This post showed you how to enable or disable the Recycle bin for removable drives in Windows 11. If you find any error above or have something to add, please use the comment form below.