Dear Del: How often should I empty my computer trash?

Joseph Frey | 03.27.14
Topics: Tips - Trends - TechTalks, Outsourced IT - Technical Questions

Dear Del:

How often should I empty my Recycle Bin and Deleted Items folders?


You empty your trash and recyclables at home, probably on a weekly basis, right? You must remember to do the same on your computer to keep unused files from piling up and hogging your memory.

The Recycle Bin is not a storage location for your files. Treat it like a recycle bin in your home; you wouldn’t put at item in your home recycle bin that you plan on using later – it’s best practice not to do that on your computer, either. Only put items in the Recycle Bin that you no longer need. If you think you will need the file in the future, create a folder on your computer or on the network (according to your organization’s document management policies) and store the file there instead. If your organization doesn’t already have one, consider implementing a network policy that automatically empties the Recycle Bin without requiring user confirmation – and be aware that such a policy can be established at any time.

In Outlook, your Deleted Items folder is the same as your trash bin at home; when you put items in the trash (or your Deleted Items folder), you don’t plan on using them in the future, do you? Too many people use this folder as a storage location – and that is clearly not its purpose. Within your Outlook Options, under Advanced, Outlook start and exit, check the box “Empty Deleted Items folders when exiting Outlook” to automatically take out your trash on a regular basis.



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