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How to Fix Corrupted Recycle Bin in Windows

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.

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 deleted by your account will be permanently deleted to free up disk space.

If you are unable to empty the Recycle Bin or delete an item inside the Recycle Bin, then the Recycle Bin may be corrupted.

This tutorial will show you how to fix a corrupted Recycle Bin in Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10.

You must be signed in as an administrator to perform the steps in this tutorial.

This will permanently delete all files currently in the Recycle Bin for all users on the PC.

Here's How:

1. Open an elevated command prompt.

2. Type the commands below one at a time into the elevated command prompt, and press Enter after each command.

If you got a The Recycle Bin on <drive letter> is corrupted. Do you want to empty the Recycle Bin for this drive? error message, then you can skip this step, and just do step 4 below for only this drive letter (ex: "E") instead.
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list volume


3. Make note of all the drive letters (ex: "C" and "E") in the Ltr column for Partition "Type" volumes. Ignore the drive letters (ex: "D") for Removable "Type" volumes. (see screenshot below)

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4. Type the command below for each drive letter (ex: "C" and "E") from step 3 above into the elevated command prompt, and press Enter after each command. (see screenshot below)

rd /s /q <drive letter>:\$Recycle.bin

Substitute <drive letter> in the command above with a drive letter from step 3 above.

For example with the drive letters "C" and "E":

rd /s /q C:\$Recycle.bin

rd /s /q E:\$Recycle.bin

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5. Open the Recycle Bin to refresh it and confirm that it is now empty. (see screenshot below)

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6. If you are still having an issue with the Recycle Bin, then run a sfc /scannow command in the elevated command prompt.

That's it,