How to Delete a File Without Sending It to the Recycle Bin

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Windows 7 moves deleted files to the Recycle Bin by default. As long as the files are in the Recycle Bin, you have the option to restore them on your machine. To completely erase the files from your machine, you need to take the extra step and empty the Recycle Bin. However, sometimes you know you want to delete a file outright. Permanently deleting the file and eliminating the step of having to empty the Recycle Bin ensures sensitive files are automatically, permanently deleted. You can permanently deleted files using a keyboard shortcut or by changing the Recycle Bin's properties.

Keyboard Shortcut

  • Click the unwanted file once to highlight it.

  • Press the "Shift" and "Delete" keys at the same time.

  • Click "Yes" in the dialog box that appears on the screen to permanently delete the file.

Recycle Bin Properties

  • Right-click the "Recycle Bin" icon on your desktop. The Recycle Bin icon should look like a gray trash can.

  • Select "Properties" in the context menu that opens up to the right of your mouse pointer.

  • Select "Don't move files to the Recycle Bin. Remove files immediately when deleted."

  • Click "OK" to save the changes.

Tips & Warnings

  • You cannot recover files that bypass the Recycle Bin without the use of special software. Even with special software, you may be unable to recover permanently deleted files.

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