Empty recycle bin command line




I’ve run into the situation before where I’ve needed to empty the Recycle Bin for all users on a multi-user computer. After doing a lot of searching I realized that the only real way to empty the Recycle Bin for all users on a computer (without logging in as each user) is to completely remove the Recycle Bin directory from the PC. This will delete all files in the Recycle Bin for all users, and then Windows will just recreate the directory when it is needed again.

So how do you do it? You need to open a command prompt window as an administrator, and then the directory you need to remove varies depending on the OS you’re working with:

  • For Windows 7 or Server 2008 run this command from the command prompt:
    • rd /s c:\$Recycle.Bin
  • For Windows XP or Server 2003 run this command from the command prompt:
    • rd /s c:\recycler

Note: These commands reference the “c:\” drive. Each drive keeps its own Recycle Bin so you’ll need to run this for each drive letter that you want to empty.

After running the command you may notice that the Recycle Bin icon may not refresh immediately to reflect that it is empty. This is because you’re using a non-standard procedure to empty the Recycle Bin, but if you open it up the icon will refresh and you should see that there are no files in there.