Fix: Recycle Bin is corrupted in Windows 8 / 7

If your Recycle Bin is corrupted, you can face various problems when using it.  The Recycle Bin may not show the files that you may have been deleted from your File Explorer, or you may be unable to delete the files in it – or even empty the Recycle Bin completely. At times you may even receive an Access Denied message.

In such a situation, you may need to repair or reset the Recycle Bin.

Recycle Bin is corrupted

Each drive on Windows, has a hidden and protected system folder called as $Recycle.bin. If you use the Unhide option from the Folder Options, you will be able to see this folder. When you delete files or folders from you desktop or any other folder, they are moved to the Recycle Bin folder for holding. But you may face a problem where your Recycle Bin gets corrupted and you have to repair or reset it.

If you repair or reset it, the Recycle Bin folder in Windows 7 | 8 gets deleted. Windows will automatically create a new $Recycle.bin folder. This is of course not a new feature, but has been present in Windows, since Windows XP at least.

To reset the Recycle Bin, open an elevated Command Prompt window from the Win+X menu in Windows 8. Then type the following command and hit ENTER:

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

Recycle Bin is corrupted

This command will reset the $Recycle.bin folder which is present on the  C drive. You will have to do this for every partition on your hard disk, by replacing C with the drive letter/s. Be careful in using the correct command, lest you end up deleting the wrong files or directory!

Once you do this, the Recycle Bin folder and all the files and folders in it will be deleted.  On computer restart, Windows will recreate a new Recycle Bin for you.

Thanks Dan!

This post may help you if your Recycle Bin icon does not refresh automatically in Windows.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse aka HappyAndyK is an end-user Windows enthusiast, a Microsoft MVP in Windows, since 2006, and the Admin of Please create a System Restore Point before trying out any software & be careful about any third-party offers while installing freeware. Add me on Google+.
  • mmg1818


  • Dan

    You are entirely welcome; you provide the best active Windows users’ community!

  • Anand Khanse

    Thanks again! :)

  • Satyam Ravi Dwivedi

    Thanks a lot man!

  • Ronald Swager

    I’ve got a recycle bin problem that this does not fix. I have files with VERY long path names that are stuck in the bin, and that won’t show in the bin listing and cannot be deleted. I can see the directories and file names from the command prompt, but ATTRIB, RD, DEL, and REN are all ineffective everywhere from C:$recycle.bin to the deepest filename.. When used, they return: ” – could not be performed because of an I/O device error.” Before I try to repair/reload Windows 7, does anybody have any ideas????
    I have tried SFC and a number of high-end anti-virus scans with no luck. Ccleaner hangs forever on the recycle bin.

  • andy

    That was a GREAT help. Explorer was using up 50% of the cpu as soon as I opend the Recycle Bin. Thankyou.

  • Wildest_Florence

    > by replacing C with the drive letter/s.

    Why are you replacing C with the /s option?

    Do you mean letter(s)?

    Big difference. Especially when destroying the wrong folder.

  • Carrie

    This doesn’t work for me. Even with the Elevated Command Prompt. It says ‘C:$Recycle.binS-1-5-~1$RB7YGTUVol~1.4OR – Access is denied’, and I’m the administrator

  • Vishnu

    Evn im getng d same prblm.. acess s denied wen i try dis

  • Tim Fulton

    yah me too, “access denied” :(

  • jd434

    Hi, i tried to delete the whole Recycle Bin, but it won’t delete other files. 7000+ files. I have recently receiving a install Google, Inc. But the Publisher is different. S-1-5-21-1550068558-3790897437-351846055-1000/ Help this won’t delete and it says The system cannot find the file specified but it still there even if i refresh. It hides on Explorer but i use Chrome and it just sits there.

  • recycle bin woes

    My problem is that any time I try and empty the recycle bin, windows 8 goes into the never-never mode (screen fades/pales and curser turns into a circle “hourglass” for 3-8 minutes, then the system crashes. I can empty a few dozen files at a time from the bin by selecting and deleting in groups, and I did try the delete $recycle.bin method shown above, but the problem persists. I also tried turning off “delete to recycle bin” entirely, and also setting recycle bin size to 0, and rebooting each time, but the problem persists.

  • RIshi

    Hi Anand,
    My Recycle bin dosent seem to reset because of permission issue of a file. Can you help please.
    Problem is with drive “D”, Output of command pasted below.

    Microsoft Windows [Version 6.3.9600]

    (c) 2013 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

    C:WINDOWSsystem32>rd /s /q C:$Recycle.bin

    C:WINDOWSsystem32>rd /s /q D:$Recycle.bin

    D:$Recycle.binS-1-5-21-2099947227-2791791775-1547100702-1001$R45YN36Queen 20

    14 Hindi Movies HD.mkv – Access is denied.

    D:$Recycle.binS-1-5-21-2099947227-2791791775-1547100702-1001$R45YN36Sample ~

    Queen 2014 Hindi Movies HD.mkv – Access is denied.


  • Abdul Aziz

    hi Anand..
    I recently have a trouble using that command..
    I had trouble in E:$Recycle.bin

    Then my son press “enter”
    when I just type : ” rd /s /q E:

    and when I restarted it, all files in E has deleted..
    how could i fix these..

    All of these data are important..
    reply me at

    pleaasseee… i hope your help..

  • Anand Khanse

    Uh oh… you have to be careful while using the command. Please see if any of these daya recovery software help you. Best to run them soonest.

  • MrArrow

    I tryed to use this methode.. but ever since i did… non of my desktop shortcuts work.. and explorer.exe crashes constantly. I cant start anny programs though shortcuts from the startmenue. help?

  • MrArrow

    PS: nothing happens if i click “Computer” or “Controlpanel” or any other button in the Start menue except shutdown and restart…

  • AllanH

    Great tip, I recovered 300 Gbs this way. One stubborn folder was removed through a Linux boot, though.

  • Robin

    I need some help with a corrupted Recycle Bin on Windows 7 Home Premium OS. I did read the post above and this is what I don’t understand or know how to locate.
    a) The command prompt window text on my computer is C:Usersuser> (which unlike your example) How do I use the command you gave with this? How do I locate the hidden protected folder and UnHide the info and once I do UnHide the info what do I do with the information therein?
    b) What is an elevated command prompt window and where is it located?
    c) How do I know how many partitions are on my hard drive?
    d) How do I do CHKDSK and should I do this first?
    I am sure this is ‘oh so’ remedial to you but alas that is my level of computer literacy/expertise.
    Thank you very much for any and all assistance you care to give.

  • Siva Satish Samudrapu

    Run as administrator
    Intially I too got same problem later succeeded.
    Enter “cmd” in search box then right click on “cmd.exe” click “run as administrator” then follow the procedure suggested by Mr.Anand

  • Biu

    Thank s, that helped me !

  • sixchihuahua

    Go to *** windows 8.1 key sale *** .I must thank them,my windows 7 just activated ,worked well.They provide the warmest customer service I ever met.

  • Cuong Nguyen

    I can’t do it :( command prompt (admind). after type above code, ” access is denined” :(

  • ahmad

    I have written the same command but gives me Access is denied

  • johnny.johnson

    Thanks, nice quick fix. Although I suspect the root of my problem may lie in the hard disk, but this will do until I can be bothered to chkdsk :)

  • Mark Mendoza

    Thanks it works Flawlessly!!!

  • Maricon San Jose

    I followed the instructions, and restarted my laptop but it still shows that my recycle bin is corrupted, only now it shows “Recycle bin” instead of “$Recycle.bin”. What do I do?

  • JoeBoy

    All the above may be correct but what they forget to tell you is that some viruses will come back even if you format OR wipe your HD I? thinking of $recycle.bin virus there is NO reliable advice that I can find
    that can delete this one (its also funny MS even when asked about this one give very obscure answers I wonder why?

  • ???????

    ???????, ???????.

  • Gail

    I have a situation that resulted from a malware attack where upon opening my recycle bin it looks like my hard drive is in there. If I try to delete this file will it my hard drive?

  • Anand Khanse

    Its probable the shortcut. Delete the contents of your Recycle Bin. It will not delete the hard drive.

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