Alternate use for the Recycle Bin

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

Q. Is it possible to fill up the Recycle Bin? If so, what happens to files that are sent to it?

A. The Recycle Bin provides a useful safety net to protect against the accidental, permanent and emotionally traumatic deletion of files. As long as anything deleted from your PC remains in the Bin, it can be recovered. If your Recycle Bin floweth over, the time-honored Doctrine of FIFO (first-in, first-out) prevails.

The Recycle Bin can also be used in a pinch as a convenient temporary storage area for files. Anything placed in the Bin will wait patiently until you need it or delete it, either individually or with every other file in the Recycle Bin. To empty the Recycle Bin, right-click its Desktop icon and select “Empty Recycle Bin.”

If you decide you do need something previously placed in the Recycle Bin (assuming you haven’t emptied the Bin), right-click the item and select Restore. It will automatically be returned to the location from whence it was deleted.

You can place as many files as you like in the Recycle Bin, as long as you don't exceed the percentage of your hard drive allocated for Recycle Bin storage. The default is 10 percent, so if you have a 100GB (gigabyte) hard drive, by default 100MB (megabytes) of data can reside in the Recycle Bin, and that’s a whole lotta storage.

To reduce the Recycle Bin's storage capacity, right-click the Recycle Bin Desktop icon and select Properties. You will see the various configuration options available to you. It's a good idea to place a check mark beside “Display delete confirmation” to make sure you have a chance to confirm the deletion of any files. Better safe than hysterical.

Q. My first name is Dorothy, but my friends call me “Dot.” I created a new Gmail account to use at my part-time job and they use the firstname.lastname email address format. But when I do that, mine comes out dot.lastname, so when anybody asks me for my email address, it sounds silly to say “Dot dot” and my last name. Is there another way to accomplish this?

A. Gmail's usernames are very forgiving. Though many people use the format, it doesn’t matter if you use the period (dot) or not. In other words, will function identically to

In your case, as an alternative, you could use another character, such as the underscore instead of the dot, so your email address might be

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