When I try to open my trash it doesn't let me, but I suspect I accidentally deleted some stuff. It gets to about 95% and just keeps loading forever.

Is there a way I can see what's in the trash using a different method? I'd like to clear it but I don't want to yet because I'm worried I have things I need in there.

I have tried using the command line as administrator to enter the recycle bin as suggested in one of the answers. Here was the result. The correct recycle bin for my user is the longer of the two folder names.

CMD as administrator

As you can see there is only one file desktop.ini but a lot of filesize which indicates part of the puzzle is missing.

  • 1
    Have you checked your Event Viewer to see what errors the system reports while trying to open the Recycle Bin? – music2myear Sep 19 '18 at 15:43
  • 2
    I'm not certain what's causing the problem, but it may be worth running CHKDSK overnight. Leave some time in the morning before you need to use it again, to review errors or read results. – Christopher Hostage Sep 19 '18 at 15:50
  • I didn't even know about event viewer so I'll try that. And then do CHKDSK. Thanks both – Eoin Sep 19 '18 at 15:52
  • 1
    So the short one SID folder is the default user account from which others account profile folders are created when an account is logged into for the first time. No need to even touch that. The longer one is the one you're looking for, and the fact it comes up essentially empty indicates it is either corrupted itself, or it traverses some dead parts on your hard drive. Have you run Checkdisk? Is your drive HDD or SSD? – music2myear Sep 24 '18 at 15:17

You can view the contents of the Recycle Bin in the command prompt. Start by opening Command (not PowerShell), then enter the following, hitting Return after each line


This will take you to your C drive.

cd \$Recycle.Bin

The Recycle Bin is a hidden directory. It will only show up when you type dir /a:h to show hidden files and folders.

Inside the $Recycle.Bin folder there are several directories which are also hidden. These are named for the GUID/SID of the accounts on your computer. You can only access the one belonging to your own account, so you may need to check each in turn.

Use tab to autocomplete a CD S- command to check each folder. Folders not belonging to you will return Access is denied. Your own Recycle Bin directory will allow you in. Once you've found your Recycle Bin folder and entered it, enter:

dir /a:h

This will show all the files in your Recycle Bin and allow you to tell whether any of the files need to be restored before emptying the Recycle Bin.

You should be able to retrieve the files by using mv (move) or copy commands. You'll also need to reset the Hidden attribute on these files in order to see them in their new locations in your File Explorer.


The Recycle Bin failing to open is a problem you MUST investigate. This could mean your Hard Drive is failing and folders in the Recycle Bin cross bad sectors. It could mean corruption on the disk and you should run Check Disk to try to find and repair this.

The Recycle Bin failing to open is the REAL problem here, and it could be serious so you should check into it soon to prevent it from becoming worse.

Update: OP Solved

OP notes the cause of these symptoms in their case was that the drive was out of space, and the Recycle Bin was using a significant portion of that space.

Once they were able to clear space in this drive, they were able to access the Recycle Bin and its contents successfully.

  • Thanks, excellent answer. I've down as you suggest but it doesn't show much. Even if I navigate into the only directories it will allow I eventually get a message volume is in drive C has no label. Serial number is xxxx. Directory of xxx file not found – Eoin Sep 19 '18 at 16:03
  • 1
    All relevant information required to answer your question should be contained in the question body, not a comment to an answer. – Ramhound Sep 19 '18 at 16:57
  • 1
    Eoin, the way to put more information into the original question is to click on the grey edit link underneath the line of tags. It will take you to superuser.com/posts/1359606/edit . We've already got six replies which could, and should, be moved into the body of the original question to update it. After you move a reply's content into the original post, please also click on the faint grey (X) following the comment to remove the comment, for a lot of comments make it difficult to understand what's going on. – K7AAY Sep 19 '18 at 17:17
  • 1
    Do not run cmd as admin. Your own user context already has the permissions necessary to view and manage your own Recycle Bin, and because that also means you cannot accidentally access another's Recycle Bin, it keeps things simpler too. – music2myear Sep 19 '18 at 17:33
  • 1
    This was caused by an overly full SSD and a very full trash can. Once I made space things started working again. Thanks for all your help. Can you edit your answer and add that information too and I'll mark it as correct – Eoin Nov 26 '18 at 20:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.