I must apologize, as always, to any people having fielded a thousand of similar problems to this one before. I wouldn't be starting the new thread if I'd not read at least 90% of those posts, and been continually unable to find an applicable solution.
My recycle bin is missing not only from the desktop, but from also the "customize desktop" tab, the desktop folder, the explorer bar view of that folder (windows files un-hidden), and even the location "C:\RECYCLER", which I think is a bit funky, if I am to presume that's where its home is.
Where it gets funkier is that some time ago before this happened, I had made a shortcut to the recycle bin, and put it in a desktop subfolder. This shortcut links TO THE DESKTOP - from where the base Recycle Bin folder is painfully absent - and yet it still works. (I dug it up excitedly soon after the recycle bin had disappeared, thinking that for once I might be able to stick it to Microsoft and manage to solve a problem in under one hour, and no more than seven frustrated growlings.)
When I say 'works', however, I mean it in the most optimistic way possible. Firstly, the act of pressing 'delete' while a file is selected seems to initiate some rather heavy CPU traffic, taking much longer than normal to delete the file. This phenomenon can be worked around by simply dragging the file straight into the shortcut, which initiates a normal-speed deletion, but this isn't very convenient. Secondly, upon opening the shortcut, that little animated torch symbolizing 'searching for target' appears and, after another period of inexplicable traffic, disappears. I am then confronted by a still-empty folder, even though I'd have just deleted any number of files, and the icon is showing "full". Finally, I cannot empty the recycle bin. Using that function merely initiates another moment of increased CPU traffic, and the folder itself locks up momentarily, before a return to the 'empty' (but still full) folder.
So. Anyone willing to wrap their head around that one?
If I might suggest some lines of investigation, does anyone know how to use a back-door method like CMD to track down the target folder of a shortcut?
Also, one of the many Microsoft solutions, all of which I attempted, suggested tampering with a certain registry entry which, for me, was completely missing. Maybe someone knows how to "create" a recycle bin from scratch using regedit? Or am I being tragically incompetent?
Anyway if you got through reading all that you already deserve my thanks, so thanks.