Can't restore Recycle Bin after deleting

My recycle bin was deleted in error.  I've tried to add it back through Personalization->Change Desktop Icon, but nothing happens when I select the Recycle Bin.  In fact, none of the desktop system icons get added.  I can see all of my program/shortcut icons so I know these are not hidden.  Unfortunately, this happened with the only administrator account while moving pictures between user folders.

Is there any more advanced way to replace the Recycle Bin?


Dear Wes from Scottsdale,

For a System Restore

Please keep this basic step for personalizing your desktop in mind; it may be successful after the restore:

Right click on your Desktop and choose Personalize, when the window appears click “Change desktop icons” on the left side panel, this will give you Desktop Icon Settings. You will then see a listing under: Desktop Icons which has Computer, User’s Files, Network, Recycle Bin, and Control Panel. Check the boxes next to the desired description and this should restore your icons.

If the previous is unsuccessful you may attempt one of the following options:

1. You can edit the Registry to restore your icon, Follow Method 2 or, if that fails, the WORKAROUND: (Make sure you follow the steps in the listed link to backup your registry first.)

Disclaimer: Modifying REGISTRY settings incorrectly can cause serious problems that may prevent your computer from booting properly. Microsoft cannot guarantee that any problems resulting from the configuring of REGISTRY settings can be solved. Modifications of these settings are at your own risk.

2. You can create a new Administrator account and copy your old profile into it

Create a new user profile:

Copy files to the new user profile

  1. Log on as the new user other than the user whose profile you are copying files to or from. (You may use the one created from previous step)
  2. In Windows Explorer, click Tools, click Folder Options, click the View tab, click Show hidden files and folders, click to clear the Hide protected operating system files check box, and then click OK.
  3. Locate the C:\Users\Old_Username folder, where C is the drive on which Windows XP is installed, and Old_Username is the name of the profile you want to copy user data from.
  4. Press and hold down the CTRL key while you click each file and subfolder in this folder, except the following files:
    • Ntuser.dat
    • Ntuser.dat.log
    • Ntuser.ini
  5. On the Edit menu, click Copy.
  6. Locate the C:\Users\New_Username folder, where C is the drive on which Windows XP is installed, and New_Username is the name of the user profile that you created in the "Create a New User Profile" section.
  7. On the Edit menu, click Paste.
  8. Log off the computer, and then log on as the new user.

    Note You must import your e-mail messages and addresses to the new user profile before you delete the old profile. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:  313055  ( ) Mail folders, address book, and e-mail messages are missing after you upgrade to Microsoft Windows XP

Willing you a successful result, please let me know if I can help you further.

Microsoft Answers Support Engineer
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Question Info

Last updated March 6, 2021 Views 9,437 Applies to: