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Glossary » trash can / recycle bin

trash can / recycle bin

an icon on the computer desktop that represents a container for deleted files. (Note how the idea of putting your trash can on top of your desktop violates the metaphor of an office desktop.) Files are dragged to the trash can to be delete. The trash can may be opened to view recently deleted files that haven’t yet been permanently deleted. The recycle bin metaphor may be slightly more accurate than the trash can metaphor because it indicates that the file space will be reclaimed for use by other files, though this distinction may be too subtle for typical users to notice.