Has anyone changed the Recycle Bin properties?
Right click the Recycle Bin and select Properties. Under the Global tab, there should be a tick against, "do not move files to the Recycle Bin. Remove files immediately when deleted".
If not ticked, any files you delete will miss the Recycle Bin completely.
I have a laptop running on XP home edition and a week ago I noticed that when I deleted something or dragged it into the recycle bin, it prompts if I want to delete it and when I say yes, it permanantly deletes it (like when you press shift+delete) without going into the recycle bin. I want to know how to fix this problem before I accidentally delete something really important and can't get it back.