A user reported yesterday that the Recycle Bin function on his XP workstation had stopped working. I determined that the scope was a bit smaller than that. When he deleted a file from any of the Redirected folders (Desktop, My Documents, etc.), the Recycle Bin no longer functioned. The file was simply deleted. Deleted from a non-redirected folder worked fine.

I have read pretty extensively on the topic and understand that VSS is the preferable method of restoring a file when using redirection. Indeed, not only do I have VSS running but I also run hourly incrementals with a backup product. Still, there's a chance for complete loss and, well, the Recycle Bin worked for him before.

I do see a RECYCLER folder in the Redirected My Documents, so that seems to be right. And I just tried another workstation (albeit Windows 7 x64) and RB functionality is fine.


Update: I did some further testing tonight. It looks like this has been going on for a few months. Indeed, it's affecting all Windows XP users. I just deployed a Windows 7 machine for someone this week and his recycle bin is working fine.


Update x2: It seems like this stopped working for all XP-based users in July. I wonder if a security update was pushed from MS around that time that we installed? I'm still hopeful to resolve this, but my client doesn't care so much because of our backup procedures.


I believe that you'll witness this behavior on all non-local, non-spinning storage (eg network mounts and flash drives - though it may be true across all USB-mounted media as well). The Recycle Bin is really a local alias to a directory that holds files before being fully deleted.

Windows does not setup a RECYCLER alias on non-local media (ie, not the internal hard drive and any partitions thereon) because it can't ensure it will stay consistent.

  • Yeah, I understand. My concern is that it works for others and did for this one person. Now it isn't. There's got to be a reason and a way to fix, no? The BitBucket registry key is pointing to the \\server ... path. This is such a bizarre issue... – tcv Sep 30 '11 at 18:44
  • @tcv - has the the file server changed OSes recently? – warren Sep 30 '11 at 18:50
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    @tcv - outside of the standard tech support inquiry, "did you try rebooting?" .. not sure what else to tell you right now: hopefully another SF member will be able to provide further answers :) – warren Sep 30 '11 at 19:38
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    @warren: While you're correct in that network deletes aren't captured to the local Recycle Bin, deletes from redirected My Documents folders are. The redirected My Documents folder has it's own Recycle Bin (within the redirected My Documents folder) and that's where deletes from the redirected My Documents folders go. The only problem is that the files in the My Documents recycle bin aren't viewable or accessible directly from the file system. – joeqwerty Sep 30 '11 at 19:40
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    No, what I mean is that if you browse the Recycle Bin folder in the redirected My Documents folder on the file server where My Documents is being redirected to you won't see any files in it. The files in the Recycle Bin object on the user desktop should be visible and able to be restored. – joeqwerty Sep 30 '11 at 20:28

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