How to fix a corrupted Recycle Bin in Windows 10

Andrew Wafer
by Andrew Wafer
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  • The Recycle Bin is a handy software tool that has been part of the Windows OS since the very beginning, and acts as a storage space for items that are pending deletion.
  • Even a vital system component like the Recycle Bin can encounter issues, and we will be covering some of the main ways to fix them.
  • This article is just one of many that are part of our hub dedicated towards fixing Recycle Bin issues, so don't hesitate to explore even more of it.
  • We have a dedicated page focused on the Recycle Bin, so check it out for more great articles.
corrupted recycle bin

Do you have problems in using your Windows 10Recycle Bin? If you used to have a smooth Windows 10 platform that worked without problems, but now when trying to access Recycle Bin you receive only the “corrupted” error, apply the guidelines available below to troubleshoot your Windows system.

So, if you want to fix the Windows 10 corrupted Recycle Bin error The Recycle Bin is corrupted. Do you want to empty the Recycle Bin for this drive? this step by step guide will be more than useful for you.

Now, this problem might happen due to various reasons such as unexpected force close errors, DLL issues (learn how to fix any Windows 8 / Windows 8.1/ Windows 10 DLL error by using a dedicated tutorial), incompatibility problems and more.

Anyway, the result is that you can’t access the Recycle Bin for removing your files or for restoring the same in case you have accidentally erased some files from your device.

As you might know, each of your Windows drive has a dedicated system folder dubbed as $Recycle.bin. Of course this folder is hidden so you can’t see or access the same unless you check the “unhide” option under Folder Options.

Now, when the Recycle Bin gets corrupted the $Recycle.bin also gets corrupted and in order to resolve your problem you must fix $Recycle.bin. Doing the same is easy as you only have to run a command in cmd window.

Anyway, check the steps from below for the proper troubleshooting solution.


How to fix Windows 10 Corrupted Recycle Bin

  1. Clean Recycle Bin in Command Prompt
  2. Use the System File Checker tool
  3. Delete Recycle Bin in Safe Mode
  4. Scan your computer for malware
  5. Update Windows

1. Clean Recycle Bin in Command Prompt

  1. Go to the Start Screen right click on your Start button and select “run cmd as administrator” like in the image from below.cmd
  2. Then in the cmd window type “rd /s /q C:$Recycle.bin” and press enter.
  3. Up next reboot your computer and enjoy your new and reset Recycle Bin.

2. Use the System File Checker tool

In addition, of that isn’t working for you, open the cmd window once more and type sfc / scannow and press Enter.

sfc scannow

The System File Checker feature will be launched on your device so just wait while your Windows 10 or Windows 8.1 system is being fixed – on that matter learn how to fix chkdsk stuck on Windows.


3. Delete Recycle Bin in Safe Mode

  1. Hold down the shift key and click the on-screen power button
  2. Select the restart option while holding the shift key
  3. Select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > hit Restartsafe-mode-windows-10
  4. Wait until Windows 10 reboots, and select Safe Mode.
  5. Now, try to repair your corrupted Recycle Bin again using the steps available above.

Sometimes, you may encounter an Access denied error when you want to perform the actions listed above on Windows 10. So, if your Recycle Bin corrupted Windows 10 and access is denied, try enabling Safe Mode.


4. Scan your computer for malware

Malware may cause various issues on your computer, including Recycle Bin corruption issues. Perform a full system scan in order to detect any malware running on your computer.

You can use Windows’ built-in antivirus, Windows Defender, or third-party antivirus solutions.


Windows’ built-in antivirus isn’t enough? Check out this article for some great third-party alternatives


5. Update Windows

Quite a few Windows 10 users confirmed that installing the latest system and driver updates solved the problem. So, go to Settings > Update & Security > click on the ‘Check for updates’ button and install all the available updates.

update windows 10


FAQ: Learn more about the Corrupted Recycle Bin error

  • What is a Corrupted Recycle Bin error?

A corrupted recycle bin is a hard drive error that makes the Windows recycle bin incapable of storing deleted files and folders, therefor rendering it useless.

  • What can cause a corrupted Recycle Bin?

The most common cause for this issue is usually a corrupted or missing DLL, as well as a corruption of the $Recycle. bin folder from your Windows system.

  • Can I still delete items if the Recycle Bin is corrupted?

Since the Recycle Bin is no longer storing any data, all items you attempt to delete will either stay undeleted or will be deleted permanently from your system.


Good job! You have successfully fixed the corrupted Recycle Bin on your Windows 10 device. That was all for today, but stay close as we will update with similar and useful Windows tips and tricks.

Also, if you’ve got additional tips and suggestions on how to fix corrupted Recycle Bin issues, you can list them in the comments below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in March 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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