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

You can click on the link in my post to you above to see the tutorial. Afterwards, do the steps in the tutorial to see if it may be able to help fix your issue.

However, it would be more helpful to know more details about exactly what problems you are having with your Recycle Bin first so that we could provide a better answer to you. :)
 
Brink,

Great post on fixing recycle bins. However, my problem slightly different and this did not work.

Running Vista Windows Home Prem, Firefox, Bitdefender, all current. Soon after boot I get error message "Recycle Bin Corrupted (drive letter). Do you want to empty the contents of this bin?" I get the same message for each of my other partitions on two internal drives (4 total). When I open the bin, no contents are displayed.

Following your post, I removed recycle bin folders both of the two ways suggested, using the command prompt for each drive "RD/S/QB:\$Recycle.bin" , and manually finding each recycle bin folder in the operating system and deleting it and the associated desk top ini file.



Sure enough, windows replaced them. The new desktop icon showed an empty basket, and when I dragged the first item to it, it filled with "content". However when I opened the recycle bin, the file was not visible nor would the "restore all" work. I have made sure the option to delete immediately and not move the file to the bin was turned off. Of importance, when I hit the "empty bin" command and got the confirmation dialog, "are you sure you want to permanently delete X number of files?", cancelled, then added another file to the bin, the X number would increase by one. So it seems the file is there but can not be seen nor restored. A few days later I started getting the "Recycle bin corrupt" error message again.

I read about the 2007 vintage recycle bin virus that stores in the recycle bin and regenerates when emptied. I therefore emptied the bins before replacing them as instructed to make sure the virus was deleted along with the bin folder. This is so old I would think my current Bitdefender virus scan would find it.

Ran scan files, full Microsoft Safety Check, Bitdefender scan. Scan files said it found some corrupted files that could not be fixed. I can not understand the log. MSC founld some Javascript corruption which was fixed. The recycle bin problem remains unchanged.


Help appreciated!!!
 
Hello Tcbiker, and welcome to Vista Forums.

You might see if doing a system restore using a restore point dated before you had this issue may be able to fix it for you.
 
Brink,

Thanks a lot. When this first happened, I was in no hurry to work it - didn't think it was going to be a big deal. Now problem predates my last restore point, about two weeks ago.

Any other way forward? I dread the idea of reloading windows. Have never done that before, though this being a Dell, there is a recovery backup on the D drive that might make it easier if I find out how it works. Before that, I'd just like to see if there is any other solution.

Do you think spending some bucks with Geek Squad or other resource could do any good?

Thanks again.

Fellow Texan, TCBiker.
 
Brink,

Thanks a lot. When this first happened, I was in no hurry to work it - didn't think it was going to be a big deal. Now problem predates my last restore point, about two weeks ago.

Any other way forward? I dread the idea of reloading windows. Have never done that before, though this being a Dell, there is a recovery backup on the D drive that might make it easier if I find out how it works. Before that, I'd just like to see if there is any other solution.

Do you think spending some bucks with Geek Squad or other resource could do any good?

Thanks again.

Fellow Texan, TCBiker.
Most likely a waste of money but that is your choice

Does this happen on a New User account?
 
Thanks Englishman!

Interesting. When I first created a new user account and opened it, I swear I saw an empty recycle bin on the desktop. I went to a program to create a trail document to delete and when I came back, the recycle bin was gone. I used personalization to recreate one and deleted my trial document. The empty bin icon changed to the full icon, but when I opened the bin, it showed nothing. When I commanded empty, confirmation dialog said "are you sure you want to delete this item", so my trail was marked for deletion.

Looks to me like I have a virus but checking Bitdefender, McAfee sites, see no mention of one nor does Googling "recycle bin corrupt" produce any current results.

I bought an external hard drive today to backup files in the event I have to reload the operating system. However, having seen what happened just now, I am afraid to connect it as I think it will pick up the virus and reinfect me again after the reload. I'm even afraid my thumb drives could be corrupted.

Interesting also, I found a new user account, named Ne. I don't remember creating it nor would I use such a name. I deleted it and any and all associated files.

What do you think? Where would you go from here? Brink, any ideas?

Thanks guys!

TCBiker
 
Brink,

I am ready to reload Vista. However, my question is, since this affected the recycle bins on both internal hard drives, I thought I'd have to reformat the second hard drive at the same time. If I hook up an external to copy backup data, I think it will get infected too and, when I come back on line, I have three hard drives in trouble. Do you agree?

Ideas?
 
TC,

An external HDD does not use the Recycle Bin, so you will not have anything to worry about for it. You should be fine to be able to back and restore your data from it. :)
 
Thanks Brink.

Do I need to reformat both internal drives or just the boot drive (with 3 partitions, B: Data, C: Boot Drive and D: Dell's Recovery)


When I right click the desktop recycle bin and go properties, it now includes a bin description for the external drive as well. I now have 5; one for each of 2 partitions on the two internal drives and one for the external drive. Its capacity is the same as the total external drive. When I delete something from the external drive, it fills the desktop icon, and is there when I empty basket but still not visible in explore or open.

So have I contaminated my external drive? After your last post I didn't expect to see it listed.

TC
 
Brink,

It is an old ATA drive I took out of a retired computer that I am driving with a separate power supply and an adapter cable that brings it in to a USB 2 port. Handy little kit to have. Saving my new external drive for when this is done, besides I wanted to see what was on this drive before trashing it.

Will start the reload this weekend and let you know how it goes. Do I need to reformat both internal drives do you think or just the boot drive?


I can't thank you enough for your help and encouragement.

TC
 
You're welcome. I would only follow the steps at the Dell link above for how to do a factory recovery step by step. You would not want to format the OEM recovery partition.
 
I restored C: to factory settings, updated OS and then spent two weeks reloading all the applications, getting my net back up, etc. Painful.

More painful yet: While the "Recycle Bin Corrupt" error messages are gone, I can still not see the contents of the recycle bin! The dialog at the bottom of the view contents display continues to say "0 Items" when I know items are there. It empties normally and the confirmation dialog DOES count the items correctly as proven with "Are you sure you want to delete these X number items". Can't see contents using either the "Open" or "Explore" command or double-clicking the bin. The bin empties normally on command.

I did find a $RECYCLE.BIN folder in each partition and always got four separate error messages "Recycle Bin (partition letter) Corrupt". This folder is back in each partition after the restore.

Idea's???
 
UPDATE: Ran System File Checker and Check Disc and found some corrupted files which the system replaced. Afterwards, full functionality of recycle bin was restored. I don't understand how this corruption stepped around reloading the operating system but it did. So now its fixed and has stayed fixed for a few weeks. Wish I had been led to this action before I did the OS reload. I'm still trying to recover from that.

Thanks all who helped!
 
Please help, I have tried both method one and two. When method one did NOT work, I switched to method two and it worked for my C: drive and replaced the recycle bin. However this was not the bin which was corrupt I was only replacing it because you said to do steps 3-9 for all drives. In drive D: which had a corrupt recycle bin, when I went to delete it from the drive so it could be replaced with a new one here is exactly what happened. The recycle bin D: corrupt message reappeared, as well as the deleting 1 item (recycle bin) alert. The deleting item message would not progress until I either responded to the corrupt recycle bin message by clicking no or yes to empty it(It does not empty either way). When I clicked no, a message asked me to confirm the operation of deleting the bin as an administrator. When I did, it asked to make sure I wanted to delete it, and so I clicked yes. Then a message appeared saying I needed permission and the bin was filled with folders I have deleted, the only responses I had was; try again, skip, and cancel. Clicking try again would just close the message and open an identical one. So now I am stumped. What do I do please help!

Basically when I was just finishing step 8 of method 2, I got a message saying I did not have permission. This is the message I get and when I press try again the message closes and reopened.


 
Last edited by a moderator:
Hello Nick, and welcome to Vista Forums.

You may need to take ownership of the D:\$Recycle.bin folder and/or D drive first, and "Allow" your user account "Full Control". Afterwards, see if you may be able to delete it.
 
After a small amount of time, deleting the accont and making a new one seemed to be a faster solution as I was unsure you would reply, but i'll refer back to this if the problem occurs again, thank you.
 
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