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.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, an end-user Windows enthusiast, & a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows for the period 2006-16. 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.