How to empty recycling bin from command line in Windows XP?


As I posted elsewhere, I use rmdir /q /s C:\Recycler to empty the Recycle Bin. If you have multiple drives, then replace C: with that drive letter.


Instructions are here

First, you need to create file called something like EmptyBin.reg like so:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Recycle Bin]

Now, you create a batch (*.bat) file with the following:

regedit /s EmptyBin.reg
cleanmgr /sagerun:1

Run that batch file from the command line to empty your bin.

  • Unfortunately it doesn't work for me. It clears some system caches, but it leaves recycling bin untouched :/
    – Dawid Ohia
    Feb 7 '10 at 9:25
  • @Dan, Weird, wouldn't the rmdir solution above work fine?
    – Pacerier
    Apr 25 '15 at 16:59


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

will delete the $RECYCLE.BIN folder from the system drive, which is usually c:, one should consider deleting it from any other available partitions since there's an hidden $RECYCLE.BIN folder in any partition in local and external drives (but not in removable drives, like USB flash drive, which don't have a $RECYCLE.BIN folder). For example, I installed a program in d:, in order to delete the files it moved to the Recycle Bin I should run:

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

More information available at Stack Overflow at how to empty recyclebin through command prompt?


The recycle bin is just another folder; you should be able to delete the files from C:\RECYCLER to achieve the same effect as emptying the recycle bin from the GUI.

  • 3
    The recycle bin is not a simple folder at all, but rather a virtual one. It's true that its contents are stored in the "Recycler" or "$Recycle.bin" directories on each drive root, but I wouldn't blindly delete their contents. It's probably OK, but it would feel like a dirty hack. :o)
    – efotinis
    Feb 6 '10 at 13:57

I can use VBScript for this:

Dim objShell,objFolder,objItem,fso
Set fso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
Set objShell = CreateObject("Shell.Application")
Set objFolder = objShell.Namespace(10)
For Each objItem In objFolder.Items
  fso.DeleteFile objItem

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