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 firstname.lastname@gmail.com format, it doesn’t matter if you use the period (dot) or not. In other words, john.doe@gmail.com will function identically to johndoe@gmail.com.

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 dot_lastname@gmail.com.

Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week

BookCrossing
If you’re curious where books travel -- and who among us isn’t? -- this is the site for you. Register one or more of your books and receive a unique BookCrossing ID number (BCID). Write the BCID in your book, adding a label provided by the site that explain the concept of BookCrossing. Then, leave your book in a public place for someone else to find and enjoy. According to the site, approximately 20 percent of these books generate a response in the form of the finder leaving a comment on the Web site, and I’m guessing 10 percent result in a littering citation. The site claims 940,000 members in 132 countries, with millions of books registered.
www.bookcrossing.com

Flightstats
Flightstats was created for tablet and other hand-held devices, but I use it as a no-frills, cut-to-the-chase, bare-bones, stop-with-the-hyphens, flight-information center to enhance my going-nowhere-in-a-hurry lifestyle. Here you can quickly obtain flight status, departures and arrivals, security wait times, and current airport delays. If you prefer the full-frills version, visit www.flightstats.com.
www.flightstats.com/go/Mobile/

Mr. Modem publishes the "Ask Mr. Modem!” newsletter each week, featuring PC tips, tricks, and plain-English answers to your questions by email. For more information, visit www.MrModem.com.