How to Enable Active Directory Recycle Bin (Server 2016)

In this tutorial, you will learn how to enable the Active Directory Recycle bin on Windows Server 2016.

I’ll show you how to enable it through the GUI as well as with Powershell.

The AD recycle bin comes in handy when you accidentally delete an AD object and need to restore it.

Active Directory Recycle Bin Benefits

The AD Recycle bin allows you to quickly restore deleted objects without the need of a system state or  3rd party backup.

The recycle bin feature preserves all link valued and non link valued attributes. This means that a restored object will retain all it’s settings when restored.

By default, a deleted object can be restored within 180 days. This time is controlled by the Deleted Object Lifetime (DOL) which can be set on the msDS-deletedObjectLifetime attribute.

In addition, it’s default value is the same as the Tombstone Lifetime.


Just remember the default setting to restore a deleted object is 180 days.

If you want a deeper dive into these settings then check out this Microsoft Blog Post.

Related: Dcdiag: How to Check Domain Controller Health


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Steps to Enable the AD Recycle Bin on Windows Server 2016

Note: Once you enable the Active Directory Recycle Bin you can’t turn it off.

Follow these simple 3 steps:

Step 1: Open Server Manager

Step 2: Open the Active Directory Administrative Center

From the Server Manager go to tools and select Active Directory Administrative Center

Step 3: Enable Recycle Bin

Within the Active Directory Administrative Center click on your local domain then click on “Enable Recycle Bin”

Click OK to confirm

Click OK on the next pop up

All done, AD recycle bin is now enabled.

Enable AD Recycle Bin with PowerShell

Follow these step to enable the recycle bin with PowerShell

Step 1. Logon to your Domain Controller

Step 2: Load the AD Powershell module

Import-module ActiveDirectory

Step 3: Run the following cmdlet to enable the Recycle Bin

Enable-ADOptionalFeature 'Recycle Bin Feature' -Scope ForestOrConfigurationSet -Target <your forest root domain name>

Here is an example using the domain.

Enable-ADOptionalFeature 'Recycle Bin Feature' -Scope ForestOrConfigurationSet -Target

How to Verify AD Recycle Bin is enabled

Use this Powershell command to verify it is enabled

Get-ADOptionalFeature -filter *

Notice the enabled scope, if it was not enable the scope would be empty.


  1. bahamin on April 17, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    very gooooooooooooood,thank you

    • Robert Allen on April 18, 2018 at 12:19 am

      You’re welcome, bahamin.

  2. Vijay R on February 2, 2019 at 2:09 am

    Helpful dude.. Thanks a lot

  3. Siraj on December 16, 2019 at 4:55 pm


  4. John on February 12, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    Lifesaver 🙂

  5. Nikki on June 18, 2020 at 7:48 am

    Wow , So easy to understand through this page. Thanks and Keep going.

    • Robert Allen on June 26, 2020 at 6:51 pm

      Thanks Nikki. More tutorials on the way. I’m planning to add more video tutorials for Active Directory tasks. Stay tuned.

  6. Jan on February 10, 2021 at 11:14 pm

    Thank you! This helps a lot!

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