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How to Fix a Corrupted Recycle Bin in Windows 7 and Windows Vista

There are situations where you need to reset the Recycle Bin store folder to fix problems such as Recycle Bin not showing the files that have been deleted, or you’re unable to completely empty the Recycle Bin.
Each drive has a hidden and protected folder named $Recycle.bin, which is where the Recycle Bin stores files and folders that you (and other users in the PC) delete. Windows creates a fresh $Recycle.bin folder automatically after you reset it.

Fixing a corrupt Recycle Bin

IMPORTANT:  The following procedure permanently deletes all files and folders which are already in the Recycle Bin (from all user accounts in the system) and cannot be recovered.
1. Open an elevated Command Prompt window. To open an elevated Command Prompt, click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.
2. Type the following command and press ENTER:
rd /s /q C:\$Recycle.bin
(This clears out the $Recycle.bin folder for the C:\ drive. You may have to do this for each hard disk partition in your system.)
3. Type exit to close the Command Prompt window.
Editor’s note: The above method only fixes Recycle Bin folder corruption if any. Using the above method as an attempt to fix any cosmetic problems (eg. Recycle Bin showing incorrect icon) with the Recycle Bin does not help.
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