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

Symptoms

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

Cause

This issue occurs because the Recycle Bin folder is corrupted.

Resolution

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 Start , 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.

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