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Problem: I have an NTFS external drive with a $Recycle.bin folder on the root (E:\$Recycle.bin) that has about 70Gb worth of data. For whatever reason, the folder is no longer a hidden system folder, and no Windows machine I have used the drive on will show the files in the actual Recycle Bin.

What I Want To Do: I want to at least view the Recycle Bin files from this external drive. All of the help articles I have read just talk about deleting the folder altogether. I plan on reformatting the drive, but first I need to see if there are any important deleted files.

What Didn't Work:

  • Recuva - didn't see any of my files
  • Resetting the external drive's Recycle Bin via command prompt and moving the old $Recycle.bin files into the new external $Recycle.bin folder (I didn't read this anywhere, just made it up on my own)
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2 Answers 2

I have the same problem. I noticed multiple recycle bins ($RECYCLE.BIN and a folder called "RECYCLER").

My solution was to:

  1. Use another file management tool (like Total Commander) and copy the contents of these folders (i.e., old "deleted" files) to another folder.
  2. I then deleted the $RECYCLE.BIN folder(s)
  3. I then ejected and reinserted the drive (this might be optional)

This is not the "correct" solution (it must be that the registry settings for the S-##### folder in the $RECYCLE.BIN folder are wrong), but it does cause Windows to "reset" itself.

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First, try a Linux machine or even a LiveCD/DVD to see if the files can be accessed.

If not, try data recovery utils such as GetDataBack for NTFS, RStudio and Zero Assumption Recovery.

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