Give the Recycle Bin a makeover or get rid of it!

The lowly Recycle Bin has been with Windows for ages but it’s time for a change…

Image credit guidebookgallery.org

Microsoft went “green” when it introduced the Recycle Bin back in the Windows 98 days and over the years the appearance of the been has become more modern.  But today I started to wonder if there was an easy way to change the Recycling Bin icon to something more interesting?

So we have two options here:

We can either:

  • Hide the bin or
  • Transform it

Let me show you how to do both.

Hiding the Recycle Bin

I love looking at beautiful desktop wallpapers so I keep my desktop immaculate by hiding all my desktop icons.

Windows 8.1 Desktop without any icons

To hide all your desktop icons, just right click the Desktop, select View from the context menu and choose Hide desktop icons.  The same steps reveals your icons.

But let’s say you want to keep all your icons except for the Recycle Bin?

No problem.

Press the Windows Logo Key + w and type:

hide desktop icons

The Desktop Icon Settings box appears.

Hide the recycle bin in Windows 8.1

Now you can uncheck the box next to Recycle Bin, click OK and you’re done!

But with no recycling bin, how can you see it again?  Well, you can unhide it by checking the Recycle box again or you can use a smarter, sexier shortcut which I think is a million times better.

A sexy shortcut

Open Explorer by pressing the Windows Logo Key + e.

Now, here’s the sexy part: pressing Alt + d gives the address bar focus.

It saves you the hassle of using your mouse to click in the address bar.

Now just type:

recy

and hit tab to complete the word and enter to dumpster dive the bin.

Viewing the Recycle Bin in Windows Explorer

Alternatively, perhaps you don’t want to hide the Recycle icon.

Is there a way to just change the icon?  I’m glad you asked!

Giving the Recycle Bin a makeover

Back in the Desktop Icons Setting screen, you’ll see two Recycle icons:

  • Recycle Bin (full)
  • Recycle Bin (empty)

If we select each icon and click the Change Icon… button we can easily make it more vogue.

Changing the Recycle Bin icon

But where are we going to find vogue Recycle Bin icons?

IconArchive is amazing

Go to IconArchive.com and type this in the search box:

recycle bin empty

Finding an empty recycle bin icon

As you can see, there are pages upon pages of empty Recycle Bins for us to pick.  You can click the Next button in the upper right corner of the browser to check out all the icons, but for today I’m going to grab the bin icon that looks like the one sitting in my kitchen.

When you find the icon you want, click it and then scroll down the next page until you see three green file formats buttons:

  • Download PNG
  • Download ICO
  • Download ICNS

Download the ICO file

Click Download ICO then, while it’s downloading, click the matching icon for the full trash can fron the Browse this Iconset section along the left edge of the page. (it’s in the screenshot above)

Alright, now that I have my empty and full icons it’s time to put them to good use.

Trash can icons

Back in the Desktop Icon Settings box, click the Recycle Bin (full) image and hit the Change Icon… button to browse to the full trash bin icon you just downloaded.

Do the same for the empty bin.

Sleek recycle bin icon

Oh yeah!

Look at that.

Nice isn’t it?

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Posted in Windows, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Vista Tagged with: ,
  • lksabe

    Got all the way through this, however the icon does not change when emptying or adding files to the recycle bin in Windows 7. I did notice that if I log out and then back in, the proper icon appears, i.e. of the bin has items, then that icon appears, otherwise I see the empty icon. Any ideas?