If you are into minimalism and have very few icons on your desktop in Windows, we found a free utility, called SysTray Recycler, that allows you to move the recycle bin to the system tray so you can remove it from your desktop. Using SysTray Recycler, you can easily empty or open the Recycle Bin, and even view how many files are in the Recycle Bin and how much space the files use.
Download SysTray Recycler from
SysTray Recycler works with Windows XP, Windows 7, and Windows Vista. It does not need to be installed. Simply unzip the .zip file you downloaded and double-click on the SysTray Recycler.exe file.
A dialog box displays telling you that the Manifest file has been re-initialized. This is normal and only happens the first time you run SysTray Recycler (unless you delete the manifest file). The Manifest file is a file needed by the .exe file to run the program. Click OK and then double-click on the SysTray Recycler.exe file again to run the program.
The SysTray Recycler icon displays in the system tray. There is one icon that displays if the Recycle Bin contains items and a different one if the Recycle Bin is empty. Moving the mouse over the icon shows you how many items are in the Recycle Bin.
Before we show you the features of SysTray Recycler, we will show you how to make it more convenient to access the icon by putting it directly on the Taskbar. To do this, click the system tray up arrow and click the Customize link.
The Notification Area Icons screen on the Control Panel displays. Find SysTray Recycler in the list of system tray icons and select Show icon and notifications from the drop-down list to the right of the program name.
Click OK to close the Control Panel.
When you left- or right-click on the SysTray Recycler icon in the system tray, the number of files in the Recycle Bin displays at the top of the popup menu along with how much space the files are using. To empty the Recycle Bin, select Recycle Bin | Empty from the popup menu. You can also open the Recycle Bin to view the files in it using the Open option.
SysTray Recycler also allows you to clean out the temp files in your system. To do this, click on the SysTray Recycler icon and select Clean | Temp Files from the popup menu.
If you have a utility called CCleaner installed on your system, an option is also added to the Clean submenu that allows you to open CCleaner from the SysTray Recycler icon. CCleaner is a free utility that allows you to clean up your hard drive of temporary files, browsing history, cookies etc., from several web browsers and clean up the Recycle Bin, Recent Documents, temporary files and log files in Windows. It also has a registry cleaner. You can download CCleaner from
There are a few options you can change in SysTray Recycler. To access the options, click on the SysTray Recycler icon and select Options from the popup menu.
The Options dialog box displays. You can specify the number of files after which SysTray Recycler will automatically empty the Recycle Bin. To do this, select the Empty Recycle Bin if there are more than check box and enter a number in the edit box. This option is selected by default.
NOTE: Using this option will empty the Recycle Bin of all files regardless of how long ago they were deleted. If you want to control how old the files are that automatically get deleted, see our post, Extend and Enhance the Functionality of the Recycle Bin in Windows, for a tool that allows you to automatically empty the Recycle Bin based on the age of the deleted files.
If you want SysTray Recycler to be added to the system tray automatically when you start Windows, select the Auto Start with Windows check box. This option is not selected by default.
SysTray Recycler also allows you to use your own custom icons to display in the system tray. To use your own icons, name them FULL.ICO and EMPTY.ICO and copy the files to the folder containing the SysTray Recycler.exe file. Restart SysTray Recycler to use the custom icons.
Now that you have a handy Recycle Bin in the system tray, you can remove the Recycle Bin icon from the desktop. If you are using Windows 7 or Vista, right-click on an empty area of the desktop and select Personalize from the popup menu.
The Personalization screen on the Control Panel displays. Click the Change desktop icons link in the left pane.
The Desktop Icon Settings dialog box displays. To hide the Recycle Bin on the desktop, select the Recycle Bin check box in the Desktop icons box so there is NO check mark in the box.
Click OK to accept your change and close the Desktop Icon Settings dialog box.
NOTE: If there are other changes you want to make on the Desktop Icon Settings dialog box, you can click Apply to apply the changes made so far, and then continue to make changes before closing the dialog box.
To close the Control Panel, click the X in the upper, right corner of the window.
If you are using Windows XP, there is no easy way to hide the Recycle Bin unless you use a special tool. Microsoft’s TweakUI PowerToy tool allows you to easily show and hide items on the desktop just like the Desktop Icon Settings dialog box in Windows 7. Download TweakUI from
You do not need to install TweakUI. Simply double-click on the .exe file you downloaded. To hide the Recycle Bin, click the Desktop item in the tree on the left and select the Recycle Bin check box in the Desktop Icons list so there is NO check mark in the box.
If you are finished making changes in TweakUI, click OK to accept your changes and close TweakUI. If you still want to make changes, click the Apply button to apply the changes made so far, and click OK when you are ready to close TweakUI.
SysTray Recycler is a very handy replacement for the Recycle Bin. It is lightweight, free, and portable and also allows you to easily see the state of the Recycle Bin without having to show the desktop, if you have may program windows open.
by Lori Kaufman