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How to Empty Recycle Bin in Windows 8 and 8.1


information   Information
The Recycle Bin is a temporary storage place for deleted files. When you delete a file or folder on your PC, it doesn't get permanently deleted—it goes to the Recycle Bin. This is good because if you ever change your mind and decide you need a deleted file, you can get it back. When you empty the Recycle Bin, all files in the Recycle Bin are permanently deleted.

This tutorial will show you various ways to Empty Recycle Bin for your user account or all users in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.

Note   Note

  • If you have multiple hard drives, partitions, or an external hard drive connected to your PC, each location will have it's own hidden $RECYCLE.BIN folder that stores the deleted files from that same location. The Recycle Bin is where you can view the files from all these separate $RECYCLE.BIN folders in one central location much like a library.


  • If you have multiple hard drives, partitions, or an external hard drive connected to your PC, each location will have its own Recycle Bin settings.


  • Files deleted on a removable drive (ex: USB flash drive) do not get stored in the Recycle Bin. They are permanently deleted immediately instead. Removable drives do not have a $RECYCLE.BIN folder.


  • Deleted files will stay stored in the Recycle Bin until the maximum storage size is reached When the maximum storage size is reached, the oldest files will be permanently deleted from the Recycle Bin to make room for newer deleted files.


EXAMPLE: Recycle Bin Empty (left) and Full (right)

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Recycle Bin - Empty in Windows 8 OPTION ONE Recycle Bin - Empty in Windows 8
Empty Recycle Bin from Desktop Icon

1. While on your desktop ( + D), do step 2 or 3 below for what you would like to do.

2. Right click or press and hold on the Recycle Bin desktop icon, and click/tap on Empty Recycle Bin.

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OR

3. Open the Recycle Bin desktop icon, and click/tap on the Empty Recycle Bin button on the ribbon.

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Recycle Bin - Empty in Windows 8 OPTION TWO Recycle Bin - Empty in Windows 8
Empty Recycle Bin in File Explorer


Note   Note
This option is only available if you have set the navigation pane to show all folders, or added Recycle Bin to the navigation pane.


1. Open File Explorer ( + E), and do step 2 or 3 below for what you would like to do.

2. Click/tap on Recycle Bin in the navigation pane, and click/tap on the Empty Recycle Bin button on the ribbon.

OR

3. Right click or press and hold on Recycle Bin in the navigation pane, and click/tap on the Empty Recycle Bin.

Click image for larger version






Recycle Bin - Empty in Windows 8 OPTION THREE Recycle Bin - Empty in Windows 8
Empty Recycle Bin in PC Settings


Note   Note
This option is only available in Windows 8.1 Update.

The Windows 8.1 Update to be released on April 8th 2014 via Windows Update, adds an Empty Recycle Bin option in PC settings.


1. Open PC settings, and click/tap on PC and devices on the left side.

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2. Click/tap on Disk space on the left side, and click/tap on the Empty my Recycle Bin button under Recycle Bin on the right side.

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3. Click/tap on Delete to confirm.

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4. When finished, you can close PC settings if you like.





Recycle Bin - Empty in Windows 8 OPTION FOUR Recycle Bin - Empty in Windows 8
Empty Recycle Bin in Disk Cleanup

1. Open Disk Cleanup.

2. Check the Recycle Bin box, and click/tap on OK.

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3. Click/tap on Delete Files to confirm.

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Recycle Bin - Empty in Windows 8 OPTION FIVE Recycle Bin - Empty in Windows 8
Empty Recycle Bin in Command Prompt


Note   Note
You must be signed in as an administrator to be able to do this option.

This option deletes the hidden $RECYCLE.BIN folder of a drive or partition to permanently delete files deleted by all users on only that specific drive or partition.


1. Open and elevated command prompt.

2. In the elevated command prompt, type the command below, and press Enter. (see screenshot below)

NOTE: Substitute Drive-Letter in the commmand below for the actual drive letter that the $Recycle.bin folder is on.

RD /S /Q Drive-Letter:\$RECYCLE.BIN

For example: If I wanted to delete the $RECYCLE.BIN folder on the C drive, I would type this below.

RD /S /Q C:\$RECYCLE.BIN


Click image for larger version

3. Repeat step 2 for any other drive letter that you want to empty it's deleted files from the Recycle Bin.

4. When finished, close the elevated command prompt.



That's it,
Shawn