Many Ultrabooks are shipping with solid state disks (SSD) which are faster and more durable than traditional hard drive disks (HDD). The trade off is that SSDs are more expensive per GB of storage, and thus most SSD equipped Ultrabooks are equipped with a relative small amount of storage. When you’ve only got 128GB or so of storage, every gigabyte counts. In this Ultrabook Quick Tip, I’ll show you how to reclaim several gigs of storage from an unlikely place… you’re Recycle Bin (applies to both SSDs and HDDs).
The Recycle Bin is a sort of file-limbo where ‘deleted’ files sit to await permanent deletion. Putting files in the Recycle Bin, instead of simply deleting them outright, allows you to recover them at a later time if you realize that you weren’t actually finished with a file, and also functions as a buffer in case you accidentally delete a file you didn’t intend to.
What most people don’t recognize is that the Recycle Bin actually takes up space on your drive. By default, the Recycle Bin is allocated a certain amount of space to temporarily hold deleted files. Once the bin fills up and a new file is deleted, the oldest files are permanently deleted to make space for the most recently deleted files.
In my experience I’ve found that the Recycle Bin is often allocated an inordinate amount of space. It seems that the Recycle Bin is usually given around 5% of the drive size. For instance, on my, a whopping 7GB of space was given to the Recycle Bin from my 111GB of total memory.
The Recycle Bin is configured for each drive — the bigger the drive, the more space wasted to the Recycle Bin. I have a 1TB drive which was giving up 50GB of space to the Recycle Bin!
Needless to say, turning down the space allocated to the Recycle Bin can give you back gigs of space that would be much better suited storing files that you want rather than storing files that you’ve marked for deletion! Fortunately it’s quite easy to make this change, here’s how.
Reclaim Storage from the Recycle Bin:
Start by right-clicking on the Recycle Bin and selecting properties :
In the properties dialog, select the Custom size radio button, then enter your preferred amount:
My drive was set to ~7000MB by default. 500MB seems to be fine for me because I don’t readily delete large files without first thinking about it, but that leaves plenty of space for smaller files like photos, text documents, and installers.
Note that you won’t see an ‘instant refund’ of free space on your drive as the allocated space is not recorded as being taken up until the Recycle Bin is filled.
If you have additional drives, they will also be listed in the above dialog and need to be configured independently.
Enjoy the extra space!