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How to clear absolutely everything off your desktop in Windows 8.1

Ian Paul | Sept. 1, 2014
I'd bet that if you polled 10 PC users on the best way to use the desktop on Windows you'd get 11 different answers. How to use the desktop is one of the most personal choices each PC user makes. We've already covered ways desktop hoarders can better manage files that cover up their wallpaper, for example.

Now you've got your pristine desktop, but how are you going to throw things out? Right-click any file or folder and select Delete to send it to the Recycle Bin.

But that brings up another problem: How do you empty the recycle bin? You can still get to the Recycle Bin by opening File Explorer and selecting Desktop under Favorites in the left-hand navigation column.  From there just right-click and select Empty Recycle Bin  as always.

Another alternative is to limit how much trash your Recycle Bin can hold. Right-click the Recycle Bin from your Explorer window and select Properties. Under Settings for selected location you should see the Custom size radio button selected and a number such as 17292. That number is in megabytes. What it says is that once the Recycle Bin reaches that 17,292 megabytes (that's 16.8 gigabytes!) limit, Recycle Bin will automatically delete its oldest files to keep some space in your trash.

You can change that number to any value you'd like to make it delete files sooner and take up less hard drive space. If you wanted to limit the Recycle Bin to 2GB, for example, you'd change the number to 2048.

The downside of this approach is that whenever you try and delete a file larger than 2GB, Windows will have to permanently delete the file and not send it to the Recycle Bin. That may be a problem if you are prone to restore files you accidentally threw out.

If you really want that pristine desktop, it will take a little getting used to since you have to change (slightly) how you throw out files. But for anyone who wants the cleanest desktop possible, it's a small price to pay.


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