How to hide the “Delete” command from Recycle Bin context menu in Windows Vista

Previously we saw how to restore the Recycle Bin that has been deleted accidentally in Windows. This article tells you how to hide the Delete command from the Context Menu of the Recycle Bin, and replace it with Search… command. This is a counter-measure to prevent accidental deletion of the Recycle bin icon from the Desktop in Windows Vista.

The Delete command from the Recycle Bin context menu in Windows Vista cannot be removed. But it can be hidden by using a tweak that I found. To hide the Delete command and replace it with a Search… command, use these steps:

Download the file, and extract the contents to a folder. Right-click on the file Vista_recyclebin_hidedelete.reg and choose Merge.

If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation. Click Yes to continue. After applying the REG file, the Recycle bin context menu will appear as in Fig 1 below:

(Fig 1)

To reverse the changes, to show the Delete option (default setting), run the file Vista_recyclebin_showdelete.reg closed in the zip file. After applying the undo REG file, the Delete option should be restored, as in the figure below.

(Fig 2)

How does the tweak work?

The above tweak overrides the system default Delete option in the Recycle Bin context menu with a custom command. Here is the contents of the above .reg file.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

;Hides the "Delete" context menu entry for Windows Vista Recycle bin
;Replaces the "Delete" entry with "Search..." option
;Created on Feb 14,2007 by Ramesh Srinivasan

"Description"="Overrides the \"Delete\" option"


@="[FindFolder(\\\"%l\\\", %I)]"



The trick is the create a dummy Delete verb in the registry, under the Recycle Bin namespace GUID and assign it a different display name (such as “Search“) by altering the (default) value for the Delete verb. The user will now see Search when they right-click the Recycle Bin, and the Delete option remains hidden.

Next task is to make the Search option operable. This is done by creating the sub-key named command, and assigning c:\windows\explorer.exe as the value data, in the following registry key:


Next, it creates a ddeexec branch and assigns the appropriate data for launching search. The DDE string FindFolder invokes the Search window.

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About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in Windows — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP (2003-2012) who contributes to various Windows support forums.