Windows From The Keyboard Tips, How to Use the Recycle Bin, April 1, 2020

Hello. This is Gerry Chevalier from the GTT Edmonton Chapter. This weekly blog provides tips that I find useful as a keyboard user of Windows. The information is for Windows10 and Office 365, although many tips still apply to older versions.  The tips do not require a screen reader unless specifically noted. Thus, the tips apply whether you are a keyboard user or low vision mouse user. Here is this week’s tip.


Windows File Explorer – How to Use the Recycle Bin

Have you ever accidentally deleted a file and wanted to get it back? In File Explorer a deleted file is not actually removed from your computer. Rather, the file is moved to the Recycle Bin, so it is possible to restore the file. To restore a deleted file, follow this procedure.

  • Press Windows key + M to go to the desktop.
  • Press R multiple times until you reach the Recycle Bin icon and then press Enter to open the Recycle Bin.
  • You will be placed in a list of deleted files. Likely, your deleted file is in this list unless it was deleted a very long time ago. Also, when you deleted the file, if you pressed Shift+Delete to bypass the Recycle Bin, then the file will have been removed from your computer.
  • You can arrow up and down the list of files to find the file you have deleted. If you know the file name, you may press its first letter multiple times until you reach the desired file. Note that beside each file are details such as the name of the original folder that contained the file and its deletion date. You can read these values with a screen reader by using the right arrow or reading the entire line.
  • When you find the file, press the Applications key.
  • From the resulting context menu, select the Restore item and press Enter. The file will be restored to its original folder on your computer.
  • Press Alt+F4 to close the Recycle Bin.

Sorting the Recycle Bin:

If you have many files in the Recycle Bin, or you cannot remember the name of the file you deleted, it may help to sort the file list as follows.

  • If the current file you are focused on is selected, then unselect it by pressing Control+Spacebar .
  • Press the Applications key.
  • Arrow through the resulting context menu and select the Sort By submenu and press Enter to open it.
  • Arrow through the submenu and choose the sort option you want. For example, you can sort the list of files alphabetically by name, by their original location, by the deletion date, or by the date the file was last modified. You can also choose ascending or descending order.


That’s it for this tip. Until next Wednesday, happy computing.