Ok.. Where to begin.. let's see... ok! (this is kinda long sorry)
I have 2 drives on my PC. Drive C: is a backup drive just for holding data. Drive D: is where vista resides and is my default drive. Yes I know it's weird but when I initially got vista I accidently put it on C: which was my old xp drive I had all my music and such on. drive C: had no space on it after install. My other drive, D:, was a clean formatted 200gb drive that it was meant to be on. Somehow I chose the wrong drive to install vista on and fubared it. Since I had not activated vista yet I just reinstalled it on D: drive and defaulted to boot from it. All was well on D:, it booted up and ran just fine for the last year, absolutely no issues with anything amazingly. No compatibility issues, no hardware troubles, no gaming troubles etc.
Now I had all my files on C: that I wanted to keep (mp3's, videos, pics) along with the system files for a botched vista install. The install was functional and workign but I didn't want to format that drive again. I wanted to delete these cause it was wasting a lot of space. I proceeded to delete them only to find out I couldn't. For some reason I did NOT have permission to delete these files. Ok. So I go into permissions for the entire C: drive and grant myself full permissions on everything and let it do it it's thing. When it finished I tried to delete them for good and it STILL said I had no permissions... Ok. So I start going into these subfolders individually deleting whatever I could. This worked but it still wouldn't let me delete the parent directory.
I *think* it was after I tried deleting some stuff within the 'programs' folder on C: that the recycle bin took a crap on me. "recycle bin on C: is corrupted. Would you like to empty the recycle bin now?" yes | no... yes? error... error same one error, and it opened the bin. nothing was in it. I closed it, double clicked it again, error error 'recycle bin on C: corrupted.." blah blah.. Why is it trying to use C:'s recycle bin? GrRrRrR... I tried the steps here but they weren't the same thing. it wasn't a permissions issue so it seems.
All I was trying to do was delete 15gb's worth of system files left over from a vista file on my backup drive. I deleted the $Recycle.bin folder. I closed all the windows and went back to the folder and it had a recycle bin icon there so whatever I did to mess it up was fixed by simply right clicking the icon in the $recycle.bin folder and choosing "restore previous versions" option. I had 3 items listed under today's date. I tried each of these and none fixed the problem. I then tried to restore the item from yesterday, clicking yes yes to whatever dialog popped up, and booya! Now my recycle bin is working and not throwing up the errors anymore. The restore file or whatever it was was 599mb so I think it was some of the system files on drive C: that for some reason prevented my recycle bin on D: to fuction properly.
Now I need to find out how to get rid of those files properly. I don't know why it won't let me delete program files, windows, program files (x86), programs, or any of the other files that don't need to be on a non booting drive...