Fix: Recycle Bin is corrupted in Windows 10 / 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 or a Corrupt Recycle Bin error 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 10 / 8 / 7 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.

You may want to also run System File Checker.

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 read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.


  1. Dan

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

  2. Satyam Ravi Dwivedi

    Thanks a lot man!

  3. 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.

  4. andy

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. Vishnu

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

  8. Tim Fulton

    yah me too, “access denied” 🙁

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.


  12. 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..

  13. 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.

  14. 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?

  15. MrArrow

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

  16. AllanH

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Biu

    Thank s, that helped me !

  20. 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.

  21. Cuong Nguyen

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

  22. ahmad

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

  23. 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 🙂

  24. Mark Mendoza

    Thanks it works Flawlessly!!!

  25. 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?

  26. 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?

  27. ???????

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

  28. 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?

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

  30. Lex Dean

    I used the command as instructed and I got (access is denied).
    I’ve come to the belief to down load a ISO copy of windows 7 (any version) is having this problem at the moment. As I have down loaded and tried to use 2 versions now. How do I tell MS to test their own product.
    Other issues
    all win 7 OS drives folders are set with the read only attribute.
    permission to write folders need resetting.
    Cannot load programs into win 7 correctly.

  31. Brutalbarracuda

    Worked perfect first time thanks!

  32. Khuram Waraich

    still facing same error even after running as administratively

  33. Harsh

    its good….

  34. Jack Plenty

    My Recycle bin always show the message:
    “The Recycle Bin on \fs2bstaffprofile$defaultFavorites is corrupted.”

    I know it is referring to a recycle bin on my old school network (which I am no longer apart of). Is there any way to have the recycle bin reset to my computer so I don’t have the above message flashing at me every time I open it up?

  35. Lsello

    I tried but it says access denied. any help please.

  36. Rose

    I get an error First… if I try and delete something it just hangs there…. I have to go to the Task menu and cancel it…… the I get an error; “The Recycle Bin on C; is corrupted. Do you want to empty the Recycle Bin for this Drive?”

  37. Nikita H Tay

    what if the recycle bin folder force close by itself ? I am trying to recover my deleted files but the folder keep force closed by itself.

  38. See of you can open the recycle bin in safe mode. Maybe explorer.exe is corrupted. Scan the contents of the recycle bin using your antivirus menu. and then run system file checker.

  39. Louise Allen

    This doesn’t work for me. I get an error message $Recycle.binS-1-5-~3$RGJ03GRAppDataLocalMICROS~1Windows – The directory is not empty

  40. M!key

    Saved my Life!!!!! Thank you so much!!!

  41. Vazha Gelashvili

    But,I winder why this happens.

  42. I used the command but why did i get “The directory is not empty” as a response? This fix isnt working dont know why.

  43. Pierre Loubert

    I am starting to suspect that this is a symptom of a deeper rooted problem in Windows. I have deleted the corrupt recycle bin more times than I can remember and it always comes back. It’s not a standard hard drive, it’s an external hard drive that goes to sleep to preserve the disk life, It’s for archival purposes. I recently upgraded to Windows 8.1 and the OS is incapable of managing this external HDD. I’ve checked to see that the firmware and drivers are up to date. The fault lies with the OS, it requires a registry hack to turn off sleeping in energy management settings, which is self defeating if you ask me.

    Thanks for the post though.

  44. Praveen Pragallapati

    thanks alot it worked fine

  45. Kool Breeze

    I ran this and got back 3 messages that appear to be the files that are stuck and the reason I want to reset the recycle bin says access is denied to all 3 file names

  46. Jamies

    Another incongruous happening in Windows 10 – it may well be relevant to the inability to ‘manage’ the recycle bin, so read the story and consider if, then how it may apply to the thread.

    Today – In file Explorer – folders on leftside and the contents of one of those folders (30 subfolders and about 100 files totalling over 60GB) shown in the righthand side.

    I selected a folder within the right-hand panel using the mouse and used the delete key.
    At this point I expected a warning about the delete action,
    – well I do have the warnings specified in the options but the entire holding folder disappeared from the left hand panel.

    OK – no panic, I have a very large limit set on the recycle bin, and can just ‘undo the action’
    (almost the entire PARTITION space- and I manually manage it as needed.)
    Nope! – the undo selection button/icon has been grey’d out – and is staying that way.
    OK – I’ll open the Recycle bin and ‘Recover’ the folder – Nope, it’s not showing there.

    BUT the drive usage – remaining freespace has not increased by the 60GB ! ??

    LUCKILLLLLLYYYYY I have installed the ‘Treesize’ facility and using that in Admin mode allows me to see the usage on the partition – well almost all folders, and then down to subfolders.

    That shows me that the Recycle bin is well over 60GB – with some unusual foldernames – one of which is over 60GB and contains the missing folder – all the files and folders.

    NOW I can’t access, or even see that using the File Explorer – from the partition or even the Recycle bin,
    BUT Treesize will allow me to select the folder as an entity, and move it back to where it should be!

    Further investigation showing there is another weirdly named folder with 10GB of very old files and folders in it.
    Yes – hidden from view using built-in ‘user-level’ windows 10 facilities – but I can move the contents back to the main folder structure, and then permanently delete the files from there – freespace goes up by 10GB

  47. Akim

    thanks bro…This method solve my problem…

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