How to Fix a Corrupted Recycle Bin in Windows 10?

windows 10 recycle bin

We are all aware that on a Windows PC when a file is deleted, it is sent to the Recycle Bin which serves as a fail-safe. It is like a second chance for you to recover a deleted file if you choose to change your mind about restoring it to your hard disk.

What happens when your Recycle Bin becomes corrupt and you can either restore deleted files or empty the Recycle Bin? Whenever the Recycle Bin goes corrupt, you will see an error whenever you try to open it.

In this article, I will be sharing information on how you can fix a corrupted Recycle Bin in Windows 10 so that you can restore your deleted files and get peace of mind. Join me:

1. Add Recycle Bin again

There is a way you can remove the Recycle Bin and then read it back, that can solve the problem.

  • To do this, press the Windows key + I key on your keyboard to open the Settings windows, then search for desktop icons and select Themes and related settings.
  • After which, scroll down a little to find Desktop icon settings.
  • In this section, you can select which icons to show or hide on the Desktop. Unselect the Recycle Bin, then reboot your system and finally go through the process again but this time, choose Recycle Bin.
  • Then try and see if you can gain access to Recycle Bin or whether other functions are working correctly or not.

If the problem persists, proceed to the next solution.

2. Malware Scan

It’s possible that your system might be infected which might be the reason Recycle Bin has an error. To fix this problem caused by malware, I would recommend you to download and use the Microsoft Safety Scanner and Malwarebytes.

Both are supported by Microsoft, and i also think you should use them alongside.


Don’t worry, both of them are free to use, and they come with a high recommendation by many experts. Follow the instructions given by the softwares. And if this method doesn’t work for you, proceed to the next solution.

Note that Microsoft recommends that you should always download the latest version of its recommended softwares before you run them. But you could use an old version only if it was downloaded 10 or a few days before. Download Microsoft Safety Scanner & Malwarebytes

3. Update the Display Drivers

Some people have tried this method, and it has worked for them; that is, updating display drivers of their computers fixed the Recycle Bin issue. Let’s give it a try.

  • Search for Device Manager in the Start Menu and open it.
  • Then double-click on display adapters and right-click on your graphics card to select the Update drivers’ option.
  • Now, follow the same steps for Generic PnP Monitor which is right under the Monitors option.
  • You can reboot your system if it’s necessary after the drivers have been updated and check if you can access the Recycle Bin or not.

4. Reset Recycle Bin

This process will give you a new lease of life as if the Recycle Bin was newly installed.

  • Open the Windows Command Prompt using the admin’s rights by searching in the Start Menu.
  • You can also use the shortcut key Windows key + X and then select Command Prompt with admin in the brackets. And when it opens, type the following commands:
rd /s /q C:\$Recycle.bin
  • Then press enter.

It might take some time, but it’s alright if you use this method. When you are done, reboot your PC and then try again to access your Recycle Bin.

5. Reinstall Recycle Bin

Following the steps below to reinstall Windows Recycle Bin:

  • Navigate to the Control Panel and then go to View Tab which is under the File Explorer Options.
  • Uncheck the Hide protected operating system files which are highly recommended
  • Then select Show hidden files, folders and drives option.
  • When you are done, click on Apply and then Ok.

Note: These steps above will reveal some essential and new files and folders in the File Explorer. And don’t delete or change anything other than the items mentioned in these steps. Create a backup if need be.

  • After following all the steps above, you will see a $RECYCLE.BIN folder inside every drive on your computer. In it are a folder and permission folder.
  • Open the Command Prompt using Admin rights and repeat the commands below for each drive on your PC by replacing the drive letter. In the command, the drive letter is D which must come before the ‘$’ sign.
rd /s /q D:\$Recycle.bin

By doing that, you are deleting the Recycle Bin and the permission folders. If it doesn’t work for all at the same time, then you have to do it manually for each drive.

  • Go back to folder view to hide the system protected files and select ‘Don’t show hidden files, folders and drives.’ then reboot your computer and repeat the first solution to restore Recycle Bin on your Desktop. Hopefully, this would have resolved the issue.

6. Back Tracking

Windows 10 comes with a handy feature that allows you to restore your computer to its last restore point. The process will not delete any files or folders, but it will restore it to that exact time and date.

  • To do this, search for Restore in search and select Recovery.
  • Choose Open System Restore; do this you will see a list of all the restore points that is available with a short description on when the restoration was made. If you see only one restore points, then select Show more at the bottom of the screen.
  • Then select one restore point and click on Next to follow the on-screen instructions.

This process might take a while, and it will restart your computer several times during this process so don’t be scared.

Note: Its advisable to charge your computer or connect it to a power source before you begin this process. When the whole process is complete, check if this solution fixed the corrupted Recycle Bin issue.

In Conclusion

Recycle Bin is a great feature found in Windows operating system even though we don’t use it every day, but we forget the uniqueness until we are in dire need of its help. Hopefully, one of the solutions above will help to fix your corrupted Recycle Bin error.

Tell us what you think about this article and if you found out other ways to fix this issue, do share with us by using the comments section below.

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