How To Clean the Windows $RECYCLE.BIN Directory on Windows 2008R2 / 2012R2

Ever wondered how to clean all the specific hidden / user created $RECYCLE.BIN  directories on a servers to reclaim much needed space, well i know I did and went digging.

First step is to un-hide the $RECYCLE.BIN directory.
Select Root drive (ex: c) click on Organize > Folder options and click on the View tab. Select Show hidden files, folders and drives, un-check Hide protected operating system files. Click Apply then Apply to Folders.


Open explorer and you will see $RECYCLE.BIN as an option. Enter into the folder select all files and delete them.


At this point cleanup is done and we need to hide the protected operating system files. Repeat the steps that were done to show them and check the box to hide them.

This can also be done at the command line but it involves deleting the whole directory which may not be recreated.

Remove From Command Line
Open an Command Prompt as Administrator and type in the following commands.

rd /s /q %systemdrive%\$RECYCLE.BIN

To remove on other drives type the following.

rd /s /q d:\$RECYCLE.BIN


4 Responses to “How To Clean the Windows $RECYCLE.BIN Directory on Windows 2008R2 / 2012R2”

  1. Benj says:

    Didn’t work for me. This did: cmd as administrator, then
    del /s /q c:\$recycle.BIN

  2. Ibrahim says:

    Thanks for the information but is it safe to do that

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