On Windows 8 you can hide the Recycle Bin (and other icons on the desktop) by following Charms bar > Settings > Personalization. But on Server 2012 this returns an empty window with the message "This page is not available in this version of Windows."

Is it possible to hide the Recycle Bin on Windows Server 2012?

The most I have found is an instruction to go to User Config > Administrative > Desktop > Hide recycle icon which I can't find.

3 Answers 3


If you go to Control Panel and search for desktop common icon, the search will narrow down to one item under Display: Show or hide common icons on the desktop.

From there you can choose to show or hide the Recycle Bin, This PC, etc.

  • 1
    accepting this because it involves the least "fiddling" (but thanks to everyone else, your answers provided lots of crunchy details)
    – lofidevops
    Nov 26, 2014 at 11:53
  • 2
    Wow... this actually works!!! Quite well hidden, though...
    – Massimo
    Dec 1, 2014 at 19:47
  • 1
    This is actually a great find. I'll have to hang onto this one myself!
    – TheCleaner
    Dec 17, 2014 at 17:18

You can use gpedit.msc to accomplish this, just like you are alluding to in your link:

enter image description here

Run gpedit.msc from the run line (WIN+R) on the server. Then go to the settings in the picture above.

Then change it to Enabled.

You'll need to reboot the server afterwards.

(Also you might be able to do the normal Charms/Personalization option if you install the Desktop Experience feature on the server in Add Roles and Features Wizard, but I don't have a server I care to test that out on...)


In order to be able to manage the f%&cking icons on your desktop, you need to enable the Desktop Experience feature.

It looks like someone in Microsoft thought "wise" to include everything even remotely related to the user experience in this optional feature, which is of course not enabled by default on server systems; this includes:

  • Desktop themes (actually no longer in use, although the OS still seems to support them).
  • Access to the Windows Store.
  • Windows Media Player and related audio/video software.
  • The whole "Personalization" menu you can access by right-clicking on the desktop or from "Settings" in the Charms Bar.
  • Last but not least, the ability to control the system icons on your desktop, which are managed from the above-mentioned "Personalization" menu.

This leads to some interesting side effects even for pure server application, like Lync and Exchange, which need Windows Media codecs in order to perform audio/video encoding; and guess which feature is required to enable those codecs? Yeah, you guessed right:


Anyway, the ability to show or hide system icons on your desktop is part of the Desktop Experience feature. Either you accept to live withouth them (and with the Recycle Bin permanently stuck there), or you have to enable the whole feature, up to and including access to the Store.

  • 2
    +1 Well there you go...confirms my last parenthesis without me having to test it out. :)
    – TheCleaner
    Nov 25, 2014 at 14:42

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