Recycle Bin Corrupted - Cannot Delete File or Folder

ByLine
How to Fix a Corrupted Recycle Bin in Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8
Synopsis
If you cannot Empty Recycle Bin or delete a file or folder inside the Recycle Bin, then this will show you how to fix the corrupted Recycle Bin so that you can by resetting it.
How to Fix a Corrupted Recycle Bin in Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8


information   Information
If you cannot Empty Recycle Bin or delete a file or folder inside the Recycle Bin, then this will show you how to fix the corrupted Recycle Bin so that you can by resetting it. This is done by deleting the Recycle Bin of each affected hard drive to have Windows automatically create a new clean Recycle Bin afterwards that will work properly again.
warning   Warning
This will permanently delete all files in the Recycle Bin for all user accounts on the computer





METHOD ONE
To Fix Corrupted Recycle Bin Using an Elevated Command Prompt

NOTE: You may need to repeat this inside of each hard drive or partition letter that you have displayed in Computer.
2. In the elevated command prompt, type the command below and press Enter. (see screenshot below)​
NOTE: Substitute Drive-Letter in the commmand below for the actual hard drive letter that the $Recycle.bin file is on.
RD /S /Q Drive-Letter:\$Recycle.bin
For example: If I wanted to delete the $Recycle.bin file on the C drive, I would type this below.​
RD /S /Q C:\$Recycle.bin
CMD.jpg

3. Repeat step 2 for any other drive letter that you have.​
4. When finished, close the elevated command prompt.​
5. Right click on a empty area of the desktop and click on Refresh.​
6. The Recycle Bin should be empty now.​
NOTE: See also: Recycle Bin - Restore



METHOD TWO
To Fix Corrupted Recycle Bin in Windows Explorer

NOTE: You may need to repeat this inside of each hard drive or partition letter that you have displayed in Computer.
1. Open Folder Options, and click on the View tab.​
A) Select (dot) Show hidden files and folders.​
B) Uncheck Hide protected operating system files.​
C) Click on OK.​

2. Open the Start Menu. (see screenshot below)​
A) Click on the Computer button on the darker right side.​
NOTE: If you do not have the Computer button, then see OPTION ONE here to add it: How to Customize the Start Menu in Vista
Computer_Button.jpg

3. Click on the C:\ drive to open it, or the drive that has Vista installed on it. (see screenshot below)​
NOTE: For the other hard drive letters, just click on that hard drive letter and repeat the same instructions below.​
C_Drive.jpg

4. Right click on the $RECYCLE.BIN folder, and click Delete. (see screenshot below)​
NOTE: If for some reason, Windows will not let you delete this file, then boot into Safe Mode and try to delete it again.
RECYCLE_BIN.jpg

5. Click on Yes. (see screenshot below)​
Confirm1a.jpg

6. Click on Continue. (see screenshot below)​
Confirm2a.jpg

7. Click on Continue in the UAC prompt.​
8. Click on Yes. (see screenshot below)​
Confirm4a.jpg

9. Check the Do this for all current items box, then click Yes. (see screenshot below)​
Confirm5.jpg

10. Repeat steps 3-9 for any other hard drive letter that you have in the Computer window.​
11. Vista will then automatically create a new $RECYCLE.BIN folder and Recycle Bin on the Desktop for you afterwards.​
NOTE: You may need to press F5 to refresh the window to see the new $RECYCLE.BIN folder. If you still do not see a new one, then restart the computer to have it create a new one for you. See also: Recycle Bin - Restore
12. Right click on a empty area of the desktop and click on Refresh.​
13. Open Folder Options, and click on the View tab.​
A) Select (dot) Don't show hidden files and folders.​
B) Check Hide protected operating system files.​
C) Click on OK.​

That's it,
Shawn




 
Last edited by a moderator:
Shawn Brink

Comments

Your welcome JJ. Thank you for letting me know about unchecking that option instead of checking it in the step. It was a oversight and has been corrected now.

Thank you,
Shawn
 
Hi. According to Dell, who want to charge me $50+ to fix the problem, I have a corrupted recycle bin in Vista Home Premium x32. I noticed this about 2-3 weeks ago, after I installed a new harddrive to my system about 2 months ago.

What happens is that a file is deleted and the recycle bin icon shows data in the RB. However, when I open the RB, there is nothing in there. I can't restore the items, but I can permanently delete them, even though I can't see them.

I've tried the two option listed above by the admin. Option 1 doesn't remove the recycle bin from the desktop. I can't access the hidden folders and files in Option 2 no matter what I try to do. I've also checked multiple times to be sure that the files are not being permanently deleted outside of the RB.

I have no idea what to do now, and I really, really, don't want to pay Dell the money to attempt to fix it, unless it's the last resort. Any other suggestions?
 
Hello Monkee017, and welcome to Vista Forums.

Did you repeat this for each hard drive letter that you had installed, then restarted the computer afterwards?
 
Yes I did. My main drive is the C drive, which I did the command prompt for. When I tried the command prompt for the D partition, I got a response in the command prompt saying that the item didn't exist. I then restarted the computer, with the same recycle bin problems happening once it was restarted.

I'm hoping it's not a problem with the operating system, as I've had the OS installed twice on the new harddrive.
 
When you tried Method Two, where you not able to see the $RECYCLE.BIN file after doing step 1?

You might also run a sfc /scannow command to see if it can find and fix any bad system files that may also be part of this problem.
 
That's right. When I made the system files unhidden, I couldn't find the $Recycle.bin file in the C:\. I tried refreshing the "folder" and closing it and then opening the "folder" again. Still, $Recycle.bin was nowhere to be found.

I'll try the scan option and see if anything pops up.

UPDATE:
Well, after running the system scan as suggested, it appears there was nothing picked up, or out, by the scan. Perhaps I'm imagining the recycle bin issue? :D
 
Monkee017,

Well, if you did Method One first without restarting, then you will not see the $RECYCLE.BIN file in Method Two since it was deleted. In Method Two you would have to dot Show hidden files and folders and uncheck Hide protected operating system files to be able to see the $RECYCLE.BIN file. Just doing one of them will not work. After you delete the $RECYCLE.BIN file, it will only be restored after restarting the computer.

You might also do this tutorial afterwards to make sure that you are not also experiencing a refreshing issue with the RB.

http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/66294-recycle-bin.html

Is the recycle bin working properly now?
 
Thanks for following this with me so far...

I dot and unchecked again, since I had reset the defaults earlier, and found the $Recycle.bin file. (Finally! I must have forgot to dot earlier!) When I delete the RB file, I can refresh and the file shows back up immediately on C:\. Is it supposed to do that, or is it supposed to wait until I restart? (Which, by the way, I haven't done yet.) And, even though I deleted and refreshed the RB file, I still have the same problems with the recycle bin. Oh, I also checked the refreshing RB by using the link you provided, as a double-check. Still no difference.

Although I did notice that if I have the recycle bin window visible, and if I delete something to it, the items show in the recycle bin, everything's A-ok. But, if I delete something and close the RB window, the files don't show anymore. Neither do they show if I see them appear in the opened RB window and then close and reopen the window. They disappear, and the counter in the bottom left of the RB window resets to 0.

Here's to hoping!
 
Last edited:
Yes, you will need to restart the computer right after deleting the $Recycle.bin file to completely reset it.
 
Well, after restarting, same problem still exists. Would it be fixed if I reinstalled the OS again, or would that just compound the error? Or should that be the very last plan of attack?
 
Hi have tried everything on the list but does not seam to be working.

Still says that
the recycle bin on C: is corrupted do you want to empty recycle bin on this drive

Also get this some times when saving files:
word cannot complete the save due to a file permission error

Thanks
 
Hello Namitcoro, and welcome to Seven Forums.

Depending on how long this has been happening, you might see if doing a System Restore using a restore point dated before this problem may be able to fis it for you.

Hope this helps,
Shawn
 
Deleting the Recycle bin file on each of my hard drives did the trick for me. At first, I thought just doing the C: drive would be enough, but then I saw the comment about the other drives.

Worked great! Thanks for the help!
 
Hello Special lady, and welcome to Vista Forums.

Have you already done the tutorial on the first page for each hard drive? :)

If you have, could you give more details about the issue you are having?
 
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