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Why is there a Recycle Bin Size Limit?

Posted on 2008-06-10
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Why is there a recycle bin size limit? Does something bad happen when the recycle bin gets too big? Thank you
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Question by:orangutang
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by:2PiFL
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It's a programming thing.  That's the maximun number that can be held in a 32 bit word.  If so it needs the code to be rewritten.
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by:Seth_zin
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If it gets too big (you reach your max limit) it should start deleting your files without moving them to the recycling bin.
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by:orangutang
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Yeah, but why is there a limit in the first place? I guess I should've asked:

Will anything bad happen if I remove the limit?
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garycase earned 400 total points
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It's NOT based on any artificial word size !!  (i.e. a 32-bit word, etc.)   It's simply a parameter that allows you to control how much of the drive the recycle bin is allowed to use.   You can safely set it to 100% if you want ... i.e. no limit to the size.   The only downside is that once it fills up, disk accesses will be a bit slower, as Windows will have to free space from the recycle bin before it can allocate additional space for file operations.

Think of your disk as a room you use to store things in.   When you want to throw something away, you instead keep it in a reserved part of the room, as long as they're space for it.   If you don't limit the amount of space you use for that, eventually the room will be full => and anytime you want to put something new in it, you'll first have to remove some of the "thrown away" items to free up the additional space.

Note that if you set the limit to 100%, the recycle bin WILL eventually use all free space on the drive (since nothing really gets permanently erased until that happens) --> so there will be a bit of a performance impact.   That impact, however, is not huge ... since only directory operations are involved.
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by:orangutang
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Thank you, I heard that when a NTFS formatted drive gets filled up, performance isn't affected but if it's FAT, it will be affected. That's not true?
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by:garycase
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No, that's not true (at least not to any degree that matters ... the NTFS system may be a bit faster at updating the directories).    The primary difference between using a limit that tends to be below the free space on your drive, and one that's above that point is WHEN the recycle bin gets maintained:   If the limit is below the amount of actual free space on the drive, then once it hits that limit, the recycle bin contents will be adjusted the next time something is deleted.   If the limit is above that, then the recycle bin has to be adjusted every time a program needs to use more disk space.   I'd tend to keep the limit in the former category ... but there's no reason not to try a higher limit and see if you notice the performance impact.   Remember, however, that simply raising the limit (to 100% for instance) won't have ANY impact until the recycle bin "fills up" => so if you raise the limit, be sure to pay attention to the indicated free space on the drive.   Once it gets close to zero, THEN you'll be able to tell what impact the recycle bin size is having.

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by:orangutang
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Thank you
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