Delete items or empty the Recycle Bin of a SharePoint site

When you delete an item from SharePoint document library, or list, it isn’t immediately removed from SharePoint. Deleted items go into the site recycle bin, where they stay until they’re automatically removed approximately 90 days later. Within that time, you can either restore the files to their original location, or remove them to free up storage space.

Important: The SharePoint Recycle Bin is different from the Recycle Bin in Windows. To recover local files deleted from your desktop or apps, use the Windows Recycle Bin first. To put your Windows recycle bin on your desktop, see Put the Windows Recycle bin back on your desktop.

Note: If you're looking for the recycle bin for OneDrive, go to your OneDrive site and select Recycle bin on the left side of the screen.

If you're looking to restore items in the site recycle bin, see Restore items in the Recycle Bin of a SharePoint site.

Updated January 25, 2017 thanks to customer feedback.

Delete an item from the Site Recycle bin

To delete items from the SharePoint Online Site Recycle Bin

  1. Click Recycle Bin in the Quick Launch bar on the left of the screen.

    Choose Recycle Bin on left navigation.

    If you don't see the Recycle Bin on the Quick Launch bar, follow these steps:

    • Click Settings Office 365 Settings button , and then click Site Content.

    • The Recycle Bin is in the top right portion of the Site Content page.

      SharePoint Online Site Contents page Recycle button

    Note: If you don’t see a Recycle Bin    The Recycle Bin might have been disabled. Talk with your farm or server administrator. If you're an administrator, see Configure Recycle Bin Settings on TechNet.

  2. In the Recycle Bin page, click the box to the right of the items or files you want to delete or restore.

  3. Click Delete to delete the selected files.

    SharePoint Online Recycle delete item button

Note:  If you don’t see the item you’re looking for, it may have exceeded the holding time limit and already deleted. If you have admin rights, see Restore deleted items from the site collection recycle bin. If not, contact your administrator who may be able to restore it.

To delete all items from the SharePoint Online Site Recycle Bin

  1. Click Recycle Bin in the Quick Launch bar on the left of the screen.

    Choose Recycle Bin on left navigation.

    If you don't see the Recycle Bin on the Quick Launch bar, follow these steps:

    • Click Settings Office 365 Settings button , and then click Site Content.

    • The Recycle Bin is in the top right portion of the Site Content page.

      SharePoint Online Site Contents page Recycle button

    Note: If you don’t see a Recycle Bin    The Recycle Bin might have been disabled. Talk with your farm or server administrator. If you're an administrator, see Configure Recycle Bin Settings on TechNet.

  2. In the Recycle Bin page click Empty Recycle Bin to delete all items.

    SharePoint Online Empty Recycle bin button

    If Empty Recycle Bin isn't visible, make sure you unselect all items in the recycle bin.

To delete items from SharePoint 2016 or 2013 Site Recycle Bin

Note: The Recycle Bin shows only the items that you have deleted. You cannot view items that were deleted by other users unless you are a site collection administrator. If you do not see the Recycle Bin on your site, it could have been disabled by the server administrator.

  1. Click Recycle Bin in the Quick Launch bar on the left of the screen.

    Choose Recycle Bin on left navigation.

    If you don't see the Recycle Bin on the Quick Launch bar, follow these steps:

    • Click Settings Office 365 Settings button , and then click Site Content.

    • The Recycle Bin is in the top right portion of the Site Content page.

      View of recycle bin button inside Site Contents.

    Notes: The Recycle Bin shows only the items that you have deleted. You cannot view items that were deleted by other users unless you are a site collection administrator.

    If you don’t see a Recycle Bin    The Recycle Bin might have been disabled. Talk with your farm or server administrator. If you're an administrator, see Configure Recycle Bin Settings on TechNet.

  2. In the Recycle Bin page, click the box to the right of the items or files you want to delete or restore.

  3. Click Delete Selection to delete the selected files.

    SharePoint 2016 Recycle page Delete button highlighted
  4. Click OK in the confirmation dialog box.

Note:  If you don’t see the item you’re looking for, it may have exceeded the holding time limit and already deleted. If you have admin rights, see Restore deleted items from the site collection recycle bin. If not, contact your administrator who may be able to restore it.

To delete all items from the SharePoint 2016 or 2013 Site Recycle Bin

  1. Click Recycle Bin in the Quick Launch bar on the left of the screen.

    Choose Recycle Bin on left navigation.

    If you don't see the Recycle Bin on the Quick Launch bar, follow these steps:

    • Click Settings Office 365 Settings button , and then click Site Content.

    • The Recycle Bin is in the top right portion of the Site Content page.

      View of recycle bin button inside Site Contents.
  2. In the Recycle Bin page click Empty Recycle Bin to delete all items.

Empty the recycle bin of all items

To delete items from the SharePoint 2010 or 2007 Site Recycle Bin

  1. Click Recycle Bin on the Quick Launch bar (you may need to scroll down).

    SharePoint 2010 Site Recycle link on Quick Launch bar

    If the Recycle Bin doesn't show on the Quick Launch bar, click All Site Content, and scroll to the bottom.

    Notes: The Recycle Bin shows only the items that you have deleted. You cannot view items that were deleted by other users unless you are a site collection administrator.

    If you don’t see a Recycle Bin    The Recycle Bin might have been disabled. Talk with your farm or server administrator. If you're an administrator, see Configure Recycle Bin Settings on TechNet.

  2. Select the check box next to the items or files.

    SharePoint 2007 Recycle dialog with items selected
  3. Click Delete Selection.

    SharePoint 2007 Recycle dialog with Delete Selection highlighted
  4. Click OK in the confirmation dialog.

Note:  If you don’t see the item you’re looking for, it may have exceeded the holding time limit and already deleted. If you have admin rights, see Restore deleted items from the site collection recycle bin. If not, contact your administrator who may be able to restore it.

  1. Click Recycle Bin in the Quick Launch bar on the left of the screen.

    SharePoint 2010 Site Recycle link on Quick Launch bar

    If the Recycle Bin doesn't show on the Quick Launch bar, click All Site Content, and scroll to the bottom and click Recycle Bin.

  2. On the Recycle Bin page click the box to the left of Type at the top of the first column, and then click Delete Selection to delete all items.

    SharePoint 2010 Recycle bin deleteing all files
  3. Click OK in the confirmation dialog box.

Can I get back items I delete from the SharePoint site recycle bin?

When you open the recycle bin, you’ll only see items that you’ve deleted. When you delete an item from a site recycle bin it automatically goes into the Second-Stage or Site Collection Recycle Bin where it remains for a set period until it’s completely purged from SharePoint. If you’re a site collection admin, for more information about this feature, see Restore deleted items from the site collection recycle bin.

Put the Windows recycle bin back on your desktop

While the Windows recycle bin has nothing to do with SharePoint, it is important to have it handy for retrieving local files that you delete. Here's how to put it back on your desktop:

To put the Windows 10 Recycle bin back on your desktop:

  1. Select the Start Windows 10 start button button, then select Settings SharePoint 2016 Settings button on title bar. .

  2. Select Personalization > Themes > Desktop icon settings.

  3. Select the Recycle Bin check box > Apply.

• To get to desktop icon settings in Windows 8.1, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, then select Search. Type desktop icons in the search box, and then select Show or hide common icons on the desktop.

• To get to desktop icon settings in Windows 7, select the Start button, type desktop icons in the search box, and then select Show or hide common icons on the desktop.

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