What is the recycle bin?
  • 05 Jul 2023
  • 1 minute to read

What is the recycle bin?

Article summary

The Recycle bin lets you restore courses, items within courses, and even categories that have been deleted, within a set window of time. The period of time that deleted items will stay available in the recycle bin can be determined at a site level, you can read more about the recycle bin settings. After the configured keep time has passed the item will be deleted from the recycle bin. 

It is important to note that the recycle bin is meant to be a way to recover from a disaster. So that in the event of a disastrous mistake, not everything is lost. The recycle bin allows you to recover the most critical information automatically. Anything that can't be easily manually reproduced or configured should be included in the recycle bin. However we're not guaranteeing that things that can easily be manually re-configured will be automatically restored. You should only ever delete a course if you are absolutely sure that the course is no longer needed, regardless of whether or not the recycle bin is available.

It is useful to note that by default the Recycle bin link only appears after at least one item has been deleted and is within the expiration period; if the recycle bin is empty then the link will not be displayed. 

There are also some things (such as permissions) that cannot be restored using the recycle bin, so please see this list of exceptions below. 

When activities and resources are deleted, they do not appear in the course recycle bin until cron has run. They are processed by an adhoc task, and as such they are not controlled as part of a scheduled task.


The recycle bin uses the system backup and restore functionality. Data that cannot be included in the backup will also not be included when recycling a course or activity. This may include, but may not be limited to:

  • Course ID
  • Course permissions
  • Block permissions
  • Inclusion in competencies
  • Inclusion in programs and certifications
  • Inclusion in dynamic audience rules (e.g. completion of the course)
  • Inclusion in Learning Plans
  • Featured links containing the course are not restored

© Copyright 2024 Totara Learning Solutions. All rights reserved. Some content originally obtained via GPLv3 license and continues to be available under GPLv3. All other content is the sole copyright of Totara Learning Solutions. 

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