Recovering the Recycle Bin Icon in Windows 11: A Quick Tutorial



This content guides new users and students on how to restore the Recycle Bin icon on their Windows 11 Desktop, which isn’t added by default unlike previous Windows versions. The post advises to check if Desktop icons are being displayed first, then outlines the path to System Settings and Desktop icon settings to restore the…

This post shows students and new users steps to restore the missing Recycle Bin icon on the Desktop in Windows 11.

The Recycle Bin is one of the special icons used to automatically add to each user’s Desktop in previous versions of Windows.

In Windows 11, only the Recycle Bin icon is not automatically on the Desktop by default. If you’re missing the Recycle Bin icon on your Desktop in Windows 11, the steps below will show you how to restore it.

There might be other reasons why the Recycle Bin icon is missing from your Desktop. If you configure your Desktop to hide all icons, all icons, including the Recycle Bin, will be hidden. Before following the steps below, make sure your Desktop is showing icons.

First, see our previous post on: How to show or hide desktop shortcut icons.

How to restore the missing recycle bin icon in Windows 11

If you’re missing the Recycle Bin icon on your Desktop in Windows 11, the steps below will show you how to restore it.

Windows 11 has a centralized location for the majority of its settings app. From system configurations to creating new users and updating Windows, all can be done from the System Settings pane.

To get to System Settings, you can use the Windows key + I shortcut or click on Start ==> Settings, as shown in the image below:

Alternatively, you can use the search box on the taskbar and search for Settings. Then select to open it.

Windows Settings pane should look similar to the image below. In Windows Settings, click Personalization, and select the Themes tile on the right, shown in the image below.

On the Themes settings pane, under Related settings, click Desktop icon settings.

You will see the Computer, User’s Files, Network, Recycle Bin, and Control Panel Desktop icons that one can add to their Desktop.

Check the Recycle Bin box to restore the missing icon on the Desktop.

The Recycle Bin icons selected above should be shown on the Desktop.

That should do it!


This post showed you how to restore the missing Recycle Bin icon on your Desktop. Please use the comment form below if you find any errors above or have something to add.

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