Can’t Empty Recycle Bin On Windows 10 – Here Are The Fixes

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Recycle Bin is the place where you can find all your deleted files. You would either use it to permanently delete files from the Recycle Bin or restore an accidentally deleted file. But, let’s say, due to some of the other reasons you just can’t empty the recycle bin. It could be that some apps are interfering with the Recycle Bin or Recycle Bin per se has become corrupt. Whatever the situation might be, the blog will let you in on some effective ways you can get the Recycle Bin back to work.

Recycle Bin Won’t Empty, I Just Can’t Seem To Access It, What to Do ?

The below-mentioned fixes can tackle any issue coming between you and the Recycle Bin. But, before we dive into the fixes, it is highly recommended that you create a restore point so that if anything goes wrong, you will at least have a fallback point. Also, we highly recommend that you take a backup of all crucial files on your hard drive before going forward with any of the troubleshooting steps mentioned below.

For instance, EaseUS Todo Backup is one of the best backup software available. Here are some features of EaseUS Todo Backup –

  • Easily take a backup of files, system, or even partition
  • Disk imaging and disk cloning capability
  • Schedule backups as and when required
  • Multiple backup modes – full/ incremental and differential
  • Option to create a restore point

Also Read: Best Email Backup Services

How to Use EaseUS Todo Backup:

No matter what it is that you want to back up the system, file, or partition, everything is quite self-explanatory and fun to do. Let’s say you want to backup your system, so here are the steps to do the same –

1. Install and run the application

2. Create a new task by clicking on the + icon from the left-hand side and select a suitable location

EaseUS Todo Backup

3. You can even schedule backup at your desired time and date and choose the type of backup you want

4. Select a backup option and click on proceed

Download EaseUS Todo Backup


Now, let’s get down to what you can do if you can’t empty Recycle Bin –

Close Apps Running On Your PC

Task Manager - Close Apps Running on PC

There could be apps that might be interfering with your Recycle Bin. You can safely exit from all the apps and check if the issue has been resolved and if you can or can’t empty the Recycle Bin. More specifically, some users have been notified that the issue is particularly caused by OneDrive. However, this might not be the case with you. So, here is how you can use the Task Manager and get rid of apps currently running on your Windows PC.

1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc that will fire up the Task Manager

2. Select the app that you want to force close

3. Click on the End Task from the bottom right corner of the screen

Repeat the same procedure with all the items you see under the Apps section.

Restart Windows Explorer

Restart Windows Explorer

The steps for this method are quite similar to the ones mentioned above. In case you are unable to empty the Recycle Bin, open the Task Manager (Shift + Ctrl + Esc). Under Apps locate Windows Explorer. Click on it but instead of End Task, you will now see a Restart option, click on it. Hopefully, this should resolve the issue and your Recycle Bin should be functioning smoothly.

Use The TaskKill Function In The Command Prompt

Command Prompt

Now, let’s say there is an app that you suspect is creating problems with the Recycle BIn and it can’t be seen in the Task Manager, in that case, you can use the Command Prompt and get rid of the app. For example, if you suspect OneDrive creating issues and don’t see it in the Task Manager, follow the steps mentioned below –

1. In the Windows search bar type cmd

2. Choose Run as administrator from the right-hand pane

3. When the Command Prompt opens type the command mentioned below. It is recommended that you copy-paste this command and make sure that the syntax is correct –

taskkill /f /im onedrive.exe

4. Press Enter

5. Alternatively, you can uninstall OneDrive, in case you are not heavily dependent on it and have an alternative.

Perform A Clean Boot

Performing a Clean Boot is an effective troubleshooting step that works for a variety of issues and if you can’t seem to empty the Recycle Bin or can’t access the Recycle BIn due to some reason, performing the clean boot can be of help. Below are the steps to perform a clean boot on your Windows 10 computer –

1. In the Windows search bar type System Configuration

System Configuration

2. Under the General tab select the Selective startup radio button and make sure that you uncheck the Load startup items option

3. Now, click on the Services tab and check the Hide all Microsoft services and click the Disable all option.

System Configuration - Adobe Acrobat Update

4. Go to the Startup tab and click on Open Task Manager

5. When the Task Manager opens click on each of the startup items and click on Disable

6. Return to System Configuration click on Apply and then OK

Use The Settings To Empty Recycle Bin

In case you are not able to access Recycle Bin manually or just can’t empty the recycle bin, you can take the Settings route and then click on the Remove files option. Below are the steps for the same –

1. Press Windows + I to open Settings

2. Click on System and then on Storage

3. Click on Temporary files. Make sure that the Recycle Bin option is checked

4. Click on Remove files

Reconfigure Recycle Bin

This method can be of great help in several situations such as  – (i) When you find that Recycle Bin won’t empty and (ii) You are unable to access Recycle Bin when you want to recover accidentally deleted files. So, before you follow the steps mentioned below, we recommend that you create a restore point and to be on the safer side even take a backup of all your data.

1. In the Windows, search area type Control Panel

2. First, under View by select Large icons if already not selected

3. Click on File Explorer Options and then click on the View tab

4. Uncheck the Hide protected operating system files (recommended) and select Show hidden files, folders, and drives

5. Click on Apply and then OK

6. After this, you will be able to see the $RECYCLE.BIN folder in every folder. When you will click on this folder you will find the Recycle BIn folder and permissions folder/ folders

7. Open Command Prompt as administrator and copy-paste the below-mentioned command for each of the drives. Follow the instructions for clarity –

rd /s /q D:\$Recycle.bin (press Enter)

8. Here, every time, you will have to replace the drive letter (e.g. in the above command it is “D”). Repeat these steps for all the existing drives on your computer. By doing this Recycle BIn and Permission folders will be deleted from all the folders. Head back to the Folder view and hide System protected files. Also select Don’t show hidden files, folders, and drives

9. Restart your computer

10. When the computer boots up open Settings (Windows + I keys) and in the search bar type Desktop icons and then click on Desktop icon settings

11. When Desktop Icon Settings opens check Recycle Bin

Now, the Recycle Bin should be able to function perfectly on your computer. You can repeat the same steps in the Safe Mode as well for better results.

Wrapping Up

We hope that with the ways mentioned above, you will be able to empty the Recycle Bin and resolve any other issues. If you liked the blog, give it a thumbs up and for more such updates, keep reading Tweak Library. You can also find us on YouTube, Facebook, Flipboard, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.

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