Can't empty the Recycle Bin in Windows XP or in Windows Vista

Applies to: Microsoft Windows XP Home EditionMicrosoft Windows XP ProfessionalMicrosoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition


You cannot empty the Recycle Bin on a computer that is running Windows XP or Windows Vista.


This issue occurs because the Recycle Bin folder is corrupted.


To fix this problem, follow these steps to regenerate the Recycle Bin folder by using the command prompt:

  1. Open an elevated command prompt. To do this, Click StartStart Button, click All Programs, click Accessories, and then click Command Prompt.
  2. Type the appropriate command for your operating system, and then press ENTER.
    Windows XP
    rd /s C:\recycler
    Windows Vista
    rd /s /q C:\$Recycle.bin

    Note For hard drives with other letters, substitute C: for the desired hard drive letter.
  3. Close the Command Prompt window.
  4. Right-click an empty area of the desktop and then click Refresh.

    Note The Recycle Bin should be empty now. If not, repeat these steps for any other hard drive letter that you have.

More information

How the MATS package works to fix this problem

  1. The MATS package scans your computer and detects if the computer is running Windows XP or Windows Vista.
  2. The MATS package starts to regenerate the Recycle Bin folder.

    Note During this process, a dialog box appears. This dialog box gives you the option to fix the issue automatically (This is the recommended option) or to manually select individual issues to fix. If you manually select individual issues to fix, you have to select the Problems with deleting files and folders or the Others or I don’t know option from the dialog box.
  3. The MATS package verifies that the Recycle Bin folder was regenerated successfully.

Other issues that the MATS package fixes

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