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Table Of Contents  CertiGuide to A+ (A+ 4 Real)
 9  Chapter 1: What are Operating Systems and How Do They Work?
      9  Operating System Features
           9  Manipulating Files and Folders

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The Recycle Bin

The Recycle Bin is used to hold files or folders we want to delete from the computer until we are sure we want to delete the information permanently. It can be considered as a halfway house between normal accessibility and permanent deletion – the files are still available to be recovered if you decide deletion was a mistake, otherwise they are kept out of your way and automatically removed after a period.

Figure 38: Recycle Bin Icon


To use the Recycle Bin, simply delete a file or folder by clicking on it and pressing the delete key. The prompt in Figure 39 will appear.

Figure 39: Empty Recycle Bin Window


Clicking “Yes” will move the “CompTIA” folder to the Recycle Bin.

Recycle Bin Shortcut

You can also move an item to the Recycle Bin by dragging and dropping it on the Recycle Bin icon.

Note that the icon for the Recycle Bin has now changed to a paper-filled rubbish bin to signify that it contains files. Double click it to open the Recycle Bin interface. Figure 40 appears.

Figure 40: Recycle Bin Contents


As you can see, the “CompTIA” folder we just deleted is listed, along with some useful information about it. Right clicking on it displays a context menu with two particularly interesting options.

Firstly, the “Restore” option is the entire purpose of the Recycle Bin. If you select this option, the folder (or file) will be moved out of the Recycle Bin and back to its original location, just as if you had never deleted it.

Secondly, the presence of the “Delete” option raises an interesting point. If you delete a file and it ends up in the Recycle Bin, is it really deleted? The answer is no. It actually ends up in a form of limbo within the operating system disk structure, not deleted but not quite readily available as a normal file. The consequence of this is that files in the Recycle Bin continue to take up disk space until they are permanently deleted. You can do this in one of two ways. Right clicking on an item and selecting “Delete” will delete that item only. Right clicking on the Recycle Bin desktop icon and selecting “Empty Recycle Bin” will remove all items, as will choosing the same option from the File menu within the Recycle Bin window.

We will continue working with the CompTIA folder, so right click on it and select “Restore”. After a short delay, the folder will reappear on the desktop.

Because files in the Recycle Bin still take up room on the hard drive, it is useful to configure the maximum size it may take up. To do this, right click the desktop icon and select the Properties option. The dialog in Figure 41is displayed.

Figure 41: Recycle Bin Properties


Values for the options available here are down to personal preference. It is good practice to keep the Recycle Bin size relatively small, as it can quickly consume disk space if not maintained and monitored.

Note the “Do not move files to the Recycle Bin” option. As the text implies, ticking this option disables the Recycle Bin, permanently deleting any files immediately. It is generally not recommended to select this option, as it can be very easy to delete irreversibly the wrong files. Instead, if you wish to bypass the Recycle Bin (when deleting very large files, for example), simply hold down the Shift key when pressing delete. A confirmation prompt like that in Figure 42 will appear.

Figure 42: Delete Confirmation Request


Note the subtle style and icon difference between this and the normal Recycle Bin deletion message box. Selecting “Yes” here will permanently delete the “CompTIA” folder and all of its contents at once.

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CertiGuide to A+ (A+ 4 Real) ( on
Version 1.0 - Version Date: March 29, 2005

Adapted with permission from a work created by Tcat Houser et al. Version Copyright 2005 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.
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