Deleting files from network shares

What happens when a user deletes a file on their Windows XP computer? The file is moved to their Recycle Bin. That way, if the user later changes her mind and wishes she hadn’t deleted the file, she can open her Recycle Bin, find the file, and right-click on it and select Restore and the file will be restored to its original location on her system.

What happens though when a user accesses a shared folder on the network and deletes a file in it (assuming she has permissions to do this)? Does the file move to the Recycle Bin on her computer? No. Does it move to the Recycle Bin on the file server? No. It just gets deleted, just like when the user selects a file on her own system and presses SHIFT+DEL.

How can you avoid this kind of thing from happening? Use shadow copies on the file server, which requires Windows Server 2003 or later. See Introduction to Shadow Copies of Shared Folders for more details.


Mitch Tulloch is lead author for the Windows Vista Resource Kit from Microsoft Press, which is THE book for IT pros who want to deploy, maintain and support Windows Vista in mid- and large-sized network environments. Mitch is also the author of Introducing Windows Server 2008, the first book from Microsoft Press about the exciting new server platform. For more information on these and other books written by Mitch, see

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