Why disable recycle bin in SharePoint 2007?

September 11, 2007

One of my favorite features of WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 is the Recycle Bin. It obviously helps to reduce the number of “please find me that super-important document I just deleted, I need it ASAP” calls if not get rid of them completely.

Still, Central Administration’s Global Settings page allows to disable the Recycle Bin (or only it’s second stage) for any given Web Application. My first thought when I saw that was: “No, you don’t let people throw away their safety net!” But thinking more about this, I believe there might be few possible reasons why disable Recycle Bin in SharePoint 2007:

  • You are using SharePoint as the front-end for another application, which is the authoritative source of data. For example, this can be the case when EMC Documentum is used as a primary content management engine. Still, even in this case you might want to keep Recycle Bin to catch interim results of team collaborative work before they are pushed to the primary content management system.
  • You are using Office SharePoint Server for Search to crawl other sources of data.
  • You have built an application that is all around processes and does not have much to do with actual data. Not that I can imagine an app that would not suffer from someone occasionally deleting couple items that are being worked on, be that tasks or custom forms or documents.
  • Like Joel Oleson one day you’ve just experienced the Doh! moment and realized data in Recycle Bin counts against your site quota. But unlike Joel you decided to get rid of the Recycle Bin altogether instead of reading the ‘Lesson learned’ in his post. Well, go back and re-read it!

Anyone got more examples?

But regardless of the reasons why you choose to disable the Recycle Bin, make sure you understand possible consequences of doing so. And ask yourself what are you loosing if you leave it enabled. Just in case.

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