Fix: Recycle Bin icon does not refresh automatically in Windows 10/8/7

The Recycle Bin icon in Windows is set to display different icons when it is full and when it is empty automatically. If you find that when your Recycle Bin does not refresh but shows the same icon, irrespective of whether it is empty or full, here are some trouble-shooting steps you can try. Hopefully, one of these, should help you.

Recycle Bin icon does not refresh automaticallyRecycle Bin icon does not refresh automatically

Before you carry out any of these suggestions, I recommend that you check if your Recycle Bin is corrupted, and reset it, if it is.

1] Check if you have installed any third-party Theme or an Icon Package, and see if uninstalling it makes the problem go away. If so then the problem is in the Theme or Package. Also try switching the theme to Windows Classic theme and them back to Windows Aero default.

2] Right-click Desktop > Personalize > Change desktop icons > Disable / Uncheck Recycle Bin. Then click Restore Defaults. Click OK. Reboot. Now using the same method Enable /Check Recycle Bin, then restore defaults. Click OK. Refresh Desktop. See if it helps.

3] In the ‘Desktop Icons settings’ Dialog Box, check on Recycle Bin and click on the ‘Recycle Bin Empty’ icon. Click on ‘Change Icon’ tab.


From the new box which opens, select the icon that shows the ‘Recycle Bin Full’.  Do the same for ‘Recycle Bin Full’ icon.  Change it to ‘Recycle Bin Empty’ icon.

In short you are inter-changing the icons.

Now click Apply and check whether, when the Recycle Bin is full, the empty-icon show, and vice versa.

If it does help, go back and again change back the icons, to what they should be, using the same procedure, mentioned above.

4] Use the Group Policy Object Editor. Run gpedit.msc to open the Group Policy Editor. Navigate to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Desktop > Remove Recycle Bin icon from desktop > Double click on it > Enable > Apply Reboot.

Next, follow the same above-mentioned steps. But this time instead of ‘Enable’ select ‘Not Configured. See if it helps.

5] Repair or Rebuild the Icon Cache. For this the easiest way would be to download and use our Icon Cache ReBuilder.

6] Check this if you think your Recycle Bin is corrupted.

This post will interest you if you find that your Windows Desktop does not refresh automatically in Windows.

Now read : Recycle Bin tricks.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. 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.