Windows 7: How to Reset the Recycle Bin

Sometimes the Recycle Bin can become corrupted and prevent you from deleting files from it (or emptying it). By following a few simple steps, you can give full functionality to your Recycle Bin.

First, you need to be able to view hidden files and folders as well as protected operating system files. To do this:

1. Click the Orb (Start button).

2. Select Computer.

3. Press the Alt button on your keyboard to get the Menu to appear.

4. Click Tools and select Folder Options.

5. Select the View tab.

6. Under Hidden files and folders, make sure the Show hidden files and folders radio button is selected. Make sure the Hide protected operating system files checkbox is unchecked.

8. Click OK.

Now youโ€™re ready to work on the Recycle Bin.

1. Select your C:\ drive (if your PC is running more than one OS, select the drive That Windows 7 was installed on).

2. Find $Recycle.Bin.

3. Delete $Recycle.Bin by right-clicking the file and selecting Delete.

4. When asked if you want to permanently delete this folder, click Yes.

5. When asked to confirm the action, click the Continue button.

6. When the UAC prompt appears, click the Continue button.

7. When asked if you want to permanently delete this folder, click Yes.

8. The Delete File dialog will appear, check the Do this for all current items checkbox and click the Yes button. By clicking the checkbox, you will avoid having to confirm the deletion of each file.

After the deletion process has completed, restart your computer. When the system has restarted, the Recycle Bin will be fully functional once again. You can now go back to Folder Options and return the viewing of hidden files to their default settings.


About Rob Rogers

Once a prolific author here on Tech-Recipes, Rob has moved on to greener pastures.
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  • Woah. Should be called killing and resurrecting the Recycle Bin. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Redally

    I tried the above process but it didn’t work and then I discovered it was my “Propellerhead” dongle causing the problem.

  • Delsoul17

    It didn’t exactly work in that sequence for me but it lead me to
    check the ‘Permission’ on the ‘Properties’. As usual it didn’t list my
    User Account with Administrator permission (just me as Owner).
    Thank you very much for your help because I restarted and all is well
    with my Recycle Bin…
    too good to be true..something elsewhere will go wrong I caused.

    (Windows 7 64bit PC Dell/XPS Studio 435T/9000)

  • StringHead

    Just try “ComboFix”. It’s a kind of free antivirus program but it resolved my problem with recycle bin! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • worked perfect, puter works great now!
    just follow instructions…

  • Jenny

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!! It has taken me two full days to work out that my recycle bin was probably the problem – my laptop was in a mess and I couldn’t fix it…. And now it’s working!!!!! Yay!!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH

  • ggrantcooper

    working on win 7 64 bit, following yours thru step 6. when ”hide prot op sys files(rec)” info window warns may disable computer. is it safe to continue – please advise! Thanks, Grant.