Empty Recycle Bin in Windows 10  

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    Empty Recycle Bin in Windows 10

    Empty Recycle Bin in Windows 10

    How to Empty Recycle Bin in Windows 10
    Published by Category: Performance & Maintenance
    23 Apr 2020
    Designer Media Ltd
     

    How to Empty Recycle Bin in Windows 10


    The Recycle Bin provides a safety net when deleting files or folders. When you delete any of these items from a hard disk, Windows places it in the Recycle Bin and the Recycle Bin icon changes from empty to full.

    If you have multiple hard drives, partitions, or an external hard drive connected to your PC, each location will have its own $Recycle.Bin and Recycle Bin settings. Removable drives, such as USB flash drives and memory cards, will not have a Recycle Bin. Files deleted from removable drives are permanently deleted.

    Each user account on the PC will have their own separate Recycle Bin, and will be referenced by their Security Identifier (SID) in each drive's $Recycle.Bin.
    Empty Recycle Bin in Windows 10-recycle.bin.png

    Items in the Recycle Bin still take up hard disk space and can be undeleted or restored back to their original location. When the Recycle Bin of a drive reaches its maximum storage size, Windows will automatically permanently delete (empty) older files in the Recycle Bin location to accommodate the most recently deleted files and folders.

    When you manually empty the Recycle Bin, all files in the Recycle Bin will be permanently deleted to free up disk space.

    This tutorial will show you different ways on how to empty Recycle Bin for your account or all accounts in Windows 10.


    Contents

    • Option One: To Empty Recycle Bin for your account and all drives from Recycle Bin desktop icon
    • Option Two: To Empty Recycle Bin for your account and all drives from File Explorer Navigation Pane
    • Option Three: To Empty Recycle Bin for your account and all drives from File Explorer Ribbon
    • Option Four: To Empty Recycle Bin for your account and specific drive in Disk Cleanup
    • Option Five: To Empty Recycle Bin for your account and specific or all drives in PowerShell
    • Option Six: To Empty Recycle Bin for all users and specific drive in Command Prompt






    OPTION ONE

    To Empty Recycle Bin for your account and all drives from Recycle Bin desktop icon


    1 Right click or press and hold on the Recycle Bin desktop icon, and click/tap on Empty Recycle Bin. (see screenshot below)

    Empty Recycle Bin in Windows 10-empty_recycle_bin_context_menu.jpg






    OPTION TWO

    To Empty Recycle Bin for your account and all drives from File Explorer Navigation Pane


    This option is only available if you have set to show all folders in the navigation pane, or added the Recycle Bin to the navigation pane.


    1 Right click or press and hold on the Recycle Bin in the navigation pane, and click/tap on Empty Recycle Bin. (see screenshot below)

    Empty Recycle Bin in Windows 10-empty_recycle_bin_navigation_pane.png






    OPTION THREE

    To Empty Recycle Bin for your account and all drives from File Explorer Ribbon


    1 Open the Recycle Bin.

    2 Click/tap on the "Recycle Bin Tools" Manage tab, and click/tap on Empty Recycle Bin in the ribbon. (see screenshot below)

    Empty Recycle Bin in Windows 10-empty_recycle_bin_ribbon.png






    OPTION FOUR

    To Empty Recycle Bin for your account and specific drive in Disk Cleanup


    1 Open Disk Cleanup.

    2 If you have more than one drive or partition on your PC, then select the drive you want to empty the Recycle Bin for, and click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)

    Empty Recycle Bin in Windows 10-empty_recycle_bin_disk_cleanup-1.png

    3 Check the Recycle Bin box, and click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)

    Empty Recycle Bin in Windows 10-empty_recycle_bin_disk_cleanup-2.png

    4 Click/tap on Delete Files to confirm. (see screenshot below)

    Empty Recycle Bin in Windows 10-empty_recycle_bin_disk_cleanup-3.png






    OPTION FIVE

    To Empty Recycle Bin for your account and specific or all drives in PowerShell


    For more usage details of the Clear-RecycleBin command, see: Clear-RecycleBin - Microsoft Developer Network


    1 Open PowerShell.

    2 Type the command below you want to use into PowerShell, and press Enter. (see screenshots below)

    (Empty Recycle Bin for all drives)
    Clear-RecycleBin -force -ErrorAction:Ignore

    OR

    (Empty Recycle Bin for specific drive)
    Clear-RecycleBin -DriveLetter <drive letter> -force -ErrorAction:Ignore

    Substitute <drive letter> in the command above with the actual drive letter (ex: "C") you want to empty the Recycle Bin for.

    For example: Clear-RecycleBin -DriveLetter C -force -ErrorAction:Ignore

    Empty Recycle Bin in Windows 10-empty_recycle_bin_powershell-1.png
    Empty Recycle Bin in Windows 10-empty_recycle_bin_powershell-2.png

    3 When finished, you can close PowerShell if you like.






    OPTION SIX

    To Empty Recycle Bin for all users and specific drive in Command Prompt


    1 Open a command prompt.

    2 Type the command below you want to use into the command prompt, and press Enter.

    (Empty Recycle Bin for all drives)
    PowerShell Clear-RecycleBin -force -ErrorAction:Ignore

    OR

    (Empty Recycle Bin for specific drive)
    PowerShell Clear-RecycleBin -DriveLetter <drive letter> -force -ErrorAction:Ignore

    Substitute <drive letter> in the command above with the actual drive letter (ex: "C") you want to empty the Recycle Bin for.

    For example: PowerShell Clear-RecycleBin -DriveLetter C -force -ErrorAction:Ignore


    3 When finished, you can close the command prompt if you like.

    The Recycle Bin desktop icon will not automatically refresh to the empty icon using this option. You can open and close the Recycle Bin to refresh the icon.



    That's it,
    Shawn




  1. Posts : 26
    10
       #1

    Thanks
      My Computer

  2. Brink's Avatar
    Posts : 59,983
    64-bit Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Thread Starter
       #2

      My Computers

  3. ddelo's Avatar
    Posts : 2,379
    Windows 10 Pro x64
       #3

    For some unexplainable (to me at least) reason when I looked in the C:\$Recycle.Bin folder, although I had tried ALL 6 options of the tutorial, my C:\$Recycle.Bin was not empty.
    Windows reported it as empty, the PowerShell command was showing that the command had succeeded, but the C:\$Recycle.Bin of my account, was not empty!!!

    The only explanation I could possibly think, has to do with restoration of Macrium image, but again before the image was taken, I had run Windows cleanup... who knows!

    The proof:

    Empty Recycle Bin in Windows 10-recyclebin.png

    The only way to clean it up, was to use Powershell and remove all files and folders in the $Recycle.Bin of my account.

    So, in case someone faces the same problem, and none of the Options of the tutorial actually cleans the $Recycle.Bin, just run this command:

    Code:
    dir (join-path -Path 'C:\$Recycle.Bin' -ChildPath (Get-LocalUser | where Name -eq $env:USERNAME).SID) -Force -Recurse | Remove-Item -Force -Recurse
    and $Recycle.Bin is emptied. It should be noted that the deleted "desktop.ini" file, will be recreated upon system startup.

    HTH
      My Computer

  4. ddelo's Avatar
    Posts : 2,379
    Windows 10 Pro x64
       #4

    Shawn @Brink,
    Out of curiosity, would you mind emptying the Recycle Bin and then check your account's $Recycle.Bin to see if it's empty, by running this command:
    Code:
    dir (join-path -Path 'C:\$Recycle.Bin' -ChildPath (Get-LocalUser | where Name -eq $env:USERNAME).SID) -Force -Recurse
      My Computer

  5. Brink's Avatar
    Posts : 59,983
    64-bit Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Thread Starter
       #5

    @ddelo

    Mine shows as empty other than the SID folder below.

    Empty Recycle Bin in Windows 10-recycle.jpg
      My Computers

  6. ddelo's Avatar
    Posts : 2,379
    Windows 10 Pro x64
       #6

    Thanks a lot Shawn. I appreciate it.
    I just deleted two files, one csv with powershell output and the image I created to upload in my previous post. When emptied the bin, the csv was gone but the image got a filename starting with $I plus some characters in capital letters and an extension .png (the same extension with the recycled image).
    The only way to delete it from the Recycle Bin was with PS.

    I may need to try Fix Corrupted Recycle Bin in Windows | Tutorials
    Last edited by ddelo; 13 Feb 2019 at 03:21.
      My Computer


  7. ddelo's Avatar
    Posts : 2,379
    Windows 10 Pro x64
       #7

    Update:
    Deleting the $Recycle.Bin folder seems to have done it.
    I guess it got somehow corrupted and recreating it, fixed it, at least for now!

    Thanks a lot Shawn
      My Computer

  8. Brink's Avatar
    Posts : 59,983
    64-bit Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Thread Starter
       #8

    Great news Dimitri. I'm glad that's all it was.
      My Computers

  9. Matthew Wai's Avatar
    Posts : 6,441
    Windows 10 Home 20H2
       #9

    batch file fails after upgrade to v2004
    The above member used a CMD file to empty Recycle Bin automatically at Windows startup but disliked the CMD window. The following VBScript can do the same without a window appearing.

    https://www.tenforums.com/attachment...version-2-.vbs
    Code:
    CreateObject("wscript.shell").run("PowerShell Clear-RecycleBin -force -ErrorAction:Ignore"),0
    You may add it into this tutorial if you find it useful.
      My Computer


 
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