I think I'm beginning to understand the Recycle Bin a little bit.
My Windows Explorer shows that while I have one Recycle Bin directory on each hard drive, I have a total of eight Recycle Bins across my five hard drives: 3 on the C: drive, 2 on the D: drive, and one each on E:, F:, and L:. Windows Explorer says each of those five Recycle Bin directories is empty.
Each of the eight Recycle Bins has the same set of 388 files in it, according to Windows Explorer whatever it is that displays the files when you click on the Recycle Bin icon, and those files are a mish-mash of files deleted across all the drives since the last time I emptied the Recycle Bin. Yet, I have a directory print utility called Agent Ransack that lists all the files in any directory or drive. It shows for each Recycle Bin directory the following:
Gaahh. Rather than try and make some semblance of a table, just look at the first attached picture, below.
Clearly this information bears little relationship to what is displayed by clicking the Recycle Bin icon.
Now, it is apparent that the Recycle Bin is not a directory full of deleted files. Rather, it is a pointer to a table hidden away somewhere that has in it the file names and original locations of the "deleted" files, which aren't really deleted at all. They are just flagged as deleted, the space the files took is not de-allocated until their records are deleted from the Recycle Bin table.
So... files in the Recycle Bin take up as much space on the drive as they did before they were deleted. When you display the contents of the Recycle Bin, you are displaying the contents of the entire Recycle Bin table, regardless of which drive the original deleted files came from. This goes a long way towards explaining the 5GB difference between my F: drive and my L: drive which was supposed to be an exact duplicate.
Now, the question: If I go to drive F:, and empty just that recycle bin, will it empty the recycle bins across all of the drives, or only the files that were deleted from drive F:?
Another question: Why does my C: drive show three separate Recycle Bins?
I guess I could just empty the F: Recycle Bin and see what happens... but first I want to skim through all my "recycled" files and make doubly sure there isn't anything I might want to keep.
"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"