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Empty Recycle bin from command line

Recently I faced a situation where I had to empty the recycle bin from Windows command line(CMD).  After doing some search on this topic, I found that recycle bin is located on root folder of system drive. We can execute below command to clear all files and folders from recycle bin.

rmdir /s %systemdrive%\$Recycle.bin

To make it work we need to ruun command from elevated admin command prompt. Otherwise it throws error like below.

C:\Users\user1>rd /s %systemdrive%\$Recycle.bin
C:\$Recycle.bin, Are you sure (Y/N)? y
C:\$Recycle.bin\S-1-5-18 - Access is denied.
C:\$Recycle.bin\S-1-5-~1 - Access is denied.
Access is denied.

Alternative option

Cleanmgr is a GUI based utility but it has two interesting options /sageset and /sagerun. Using these two options we can clean up recycle bin from command prompt.  You can find the steps below.

  • First run the command ‘cleanmgr /sageset:1‘ either from command prompt or from Run window.
  • Now in the clean manager window select Recycle bin and unselect every other category.
  • Click on OK.
  • Now onwards whenever you want to empty recycle bin, you can simply run the command ‘cleanmgr /sagerun:1‘ from windows command prompt.

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • pat July 20, 2012, 3:26 am

    What about this:
    rd /s %systemdrive%\$Recycle.bin

  • Anonymous October 14, 2015, 4:52 pm

    del /s /q %systemdrive%\$Recycle.bin
    pause

    • admin October 14, 2015, 10:14 pm

      Awesome, That works.

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