On Windows XP, the total size of Recycle Bin could be seen easily, but I can't see it on Windows 7. Why did Microsoft hide/remove this feature? Am I missing something?

REMARK 1: I don't need to see the maximum size that Recyle Bin can contain.

REMARK 2: Once you have several files selected in the Recycle Bin, you get a "See more details" link in the status bar, but clicking on that does not display the total file size. Microsoft has apparently changed this.


10 Answers 10


I ran into this as wel.

The accepted answer didn't satisfy my needs. I wanted to know the size of all the recycle bins as well as the total of these.

Using the WMI provider, it is easy to accomplish this: (save as a .vbs file)

dim oFS, oFolder, fileSizeTotal
Dim objWMIService, objItem, colItems, colPartitions, objPartition, _
    objLogicalDisk, colLogicalDisks
Dim strComputer, strMessage, strPartInfo,strDeviceID,ret
set oFS = WScript.CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
Set oShell = CreateObject( "WScript.Shell" )

strComputer = "."
Set objWMIService = GetObject("winmgmts:\\" & strComputer & "\root\cimv2")
Set colItems = objWMIService.ExecQuery("Select * from Win32_DiskDrive")
For Each objItem in colItems
    strDeviceID = Replace(objItem.DeviceID, "\", "\\")
    Set colPartitions = objWMIService.ExecQuery _
        ("ASSOCIATORS OF {Win32_DiskDrive.DeviceID=""" & strDeviceID & _
        """} WHERE AssocClass = Win32_DiskDriveToDiskPartition")
    For Each objPartition In colPartitions
        Set colLogicalDisks = objWMIService.ExecQuery _
            ("ASSOCIATORS OF {Win32_DiskPartition.DeviceID=""" & _
            objPartition.DeviceID & _
            """} WHERE AssocClass = Win32_LogicalDiskToPartition")
        strPartInfo = strPartInfo & "Disk Partition: " & objPartition.DeviceID
        For Each objLogicalDisk In colLogicalDisks
            strPartInfo = strPartInfo & " " & objLogicalDisk.DeviceID
            ret = ret & objLogicalDisk.DeviceID & "\"
            if oFS.FolderExists(objLogicalDisk.DeviceID&"\$Recycle.Bin") then
                RECpath=oShell.ExpandEnvironmentStrings( _
                objLogicalDisk.DeviceID & "\$Recycle.Bin")
                set oFolder = oFS.GetFolder(RECpath)
                ret = ret & " -empty- " & vbCr
            end if
        strPartInfo = strPartInfo & vbCr
Wscript.Echo ret & "---------" & vbCr & "Total: " & calcSize(fileSizeTotal)

Sub ShowFolderDetails(oF)
    Dim size
    fileSizeTotal = fileSizeTotal + oF.Size
    size = calcSize(oF.Size)
    ret = ret & " = " & size  & vbCr
end Sub

function calcSize(sizeInB)
    Dim fSize, iKB, iMB, iGB, d
    iKB = 1024
    iMB = iKB * 1024
    iGB = iMB * 1024
    d = 2
    if sizeInB >= iGB then
        fSize = round(sizeInB/iGB,d) & " GB"
    elseif sizeInB >= iMB then
        fSize = round(sizeInB/iMB,d) & " MB"
    elseif sizeInB >= iKB then
        fSize = round(sizeInB/iKB,d) & " KB"
        fSize = sizeInB & " B"
    end if
    calcSize = fSize
end function

edit: I updated the script so it will not crash if the partition has no recycle bin. Also Bytes are now shown correctly

  • The echo line (37th) for disks C, D, E, shows C, then C&D, then C&D&E. Moving it one line below, outside the loop, fixes the problem. – Krzysiu Aug 1 '20 at 22:12
  • 1
    Thank you @Krzysiu, I've updated the script accordingly and also removed the link, since it's no longer active. – Ashwin Oct 14 '20 at 13:28

Sort the Recycle Bin by Item Type, then select all the files, do not select any directories. At the bottom you will be able to see the size of all the files if you show detailed information.

An alternative way is to select all the hidden system folders called $Recycle.bin in the System Root and viewing the details or properties of your selection, but above method should just do...


See the last entry of above command to get the size of the recycle bin from a command prompt.

I wonder why it's important to know the size of the recycle bin though, when you want to know how much space you earn it's better to use Disk Cleanup or a similar tool, but for just getting rid of your deleted items it is not necessary. I think they left that feature out because it would have to look at different recycle bins, but indeed, with an extra effort it wouldn't be hard to implement...

enter image description here

  • 1
    You’ll also want to de-select shortcuts because they too can interfere with the size (sometimes they don’t need to be, sometimes they do; I suspect that it depends on if they are valid). Of course the more items you have in the bin, the longer it takes to show the total size. As for a reason for knowing the size, just because Tom cannot think of one, doesn’t mean the rest of us who want to know shouldn’t. I find this behavior of 7 to be one of the worst parts of the OS. Besides, the solution of de-selecting folders is no good since it does not include them. (And Disk Cleanup is no good.) – Synetech Mar 20 '11 at 21:41
  • @Synetech: Check your assumptions please: Shortcuts don't interfere because they have a size by itself, they do not refer to the size of the target file. You need to show all the files so that it only excludes the folder itself, use the search option for this. Also, don't complain about not being able to think because you can't think of one either. Why would the size of things that lose their existance soon matter at all? Also, have you checked the second paragraph? DIR /S %SYSTEMDRIVE%\$RECYCLE.BIN | FINDSTR /C:File(s) Disk Cleanup is good, run it in sage mode. – Tamara Wijsman Mar 20 '11 at 23:37
  • I already said that sometimes shortcuts don’t interfere. I have had at least two times when the size was not displayed until I de-selected a shortcut, though it may have been because the bin is so unresponsive and not efficient in 7 compared to XP (it usually takes forever to “read” the files if there are a lot: the grey progress bar in the address bar). I can think of a reason why I want to know how much space is in the bin. You obviously have plenty of space, but those who don’t often look at how much space might be recovered—they are not necessarily about to “lose their existence”. – Synetech Mar 21 '11 at 0:10
  • Oh, and so what about the second paragraph? That does nothing for items from multiple volumes. You obviously either have only one drive or do things in a generally simple manner if does not occur to you that a user may want to know the total amount of files and folders that are currently deleted across multiple drives (and may or may not be restored). Again, if Disk Cleanup is good enough for you, that’s because you do things in a simple manner. It does nothing for files from an arbitrary folder, the cache from a third-party browser, etc. – Synetech Mar 21 '11 at 0:11
  • @Synetech: Your first comment describes extremely narrow situations, which doesn't apply to the world-wide audience and really doesn't add value to this discussion: You're talking about shortcuts that you can't describe; about an unresponsive recycle bin due to a bad performing hard drive; recovery of things you intend to delete under the condition of running out of space and not knowing the size of the thing you having recently deleted, it's also pretty unlikely that you would recover the whole recycle bin in that case, so I don't see what problem you have with my first paragraph... – Tamara Wijsman Mar 21 '11 at 1:22

It would have been good if Microsoft would save us people trouble to go to all these lengths and just implement the functionality the XP recycle bin had. Too bad.

The easiest solution I could find is the following:

  1. In Folder Options, turn on the display of hidden files and folders as well as protected operating system files.
  2. Browse to your C: drive, open the $Recycle.Bin folder, and then right-click and choose properties of the Recycle Bin icon you see.

This will show the total size.


It was suggested on the Microsoft forums (here and here) that running the Disk Cleanup program will provide the total size of all the files inside the Recycle Bin. There's no direct approach similar to what was implemented previously in Windows XP.

  • I don't want to see the maximum. It's not a solution. Regarding the last paragraph of your answer: Once you have several files selected, you get a "See more details" link in the status bar, but clicking on that does not display the total file size. So this doesn't work either. – Mehper C. Palavuzlar Jul 6 '10 at 15:40
  • You're right - I apologize. Reading this article (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recycle_Bin_(Windows)), it does look like MS has changed things in Windows 7. – Isxek Jul 6 '10 at 16:02
  • I've revised my answer based on further searching. (I'm not sure if I should have removed my previous answers here, but this should help at least.) – Isxek Jul 6 '10 at 16:33
  • So your findings show me that Microsoft has done a completely nonsense job removing this feature. I totally agree with the user who wrote the following post in MS Answers: It would have been good if MS would save us people trouble to go to all these lengths and just implement the functionality the XP recycle bin had. How difficult it would be to copy old code into the new version anyways? – Mehper C. Palavuzlar Jul 6 '10 at 16:46

You could use something like Rainmeter, which can display an item on your desktop with the size of the items in the recycle bin, not ideal but its an option.

Hope this helps :)


WinDirStat will compute the size of your recycle bin, along with presenting a graphic representation of all the files on your HD and how its space is used. If you're trying to figure out where the space on your drive went it's much better than trying to poke around just using explorer.


I have Windows 7, and I too had the problem of not being able to find out the amount of space that would be freed up once I emptied the Recycle Bin. After reading the above suggestions, I found that Windows 7 DOES display the total size if you select all the files in the Recycle Bin ONLY IF YOU DO NOT INCLUDE FOLDERS IN THE SELECTION. The folder size can be determined by opening each folder and selecting the files as above.

FYI (don't mean to insult anyone): to select all files after opening the Recycle Bin, hit the CTRL button and "A". To de-select folders after selecting all, hold down the CTRL button and click on the folder(s). Once you un-select any folders, the size displays at the bottom.

Unfortunately, if you have a lot of folders in the Recycle Bin, you have to click on these individually and then manually add the sizes to get the total size of the Recycle Bin. So, it may just be easier in this case to do the right-click/Properties on the $Recycle.Bin folder in the C drive as suggested earlier.


On Windows 7 I used Recycle Bin Vista Gadget which was great. However, I couldn't install it anymore. Available in many software repositories/online shops (that come with ugly installers).

I just found MiniBin by e-sushi which puts an icon on the tray. Very Neat! Using it now for Windows 8.


Windows 7: How to display the total size of Recycle Bin

On Windows XP, the total size of Recycle Bin could be seen easily, but I can't see it on Windows 7. Why did Microsoft hide/remove this feature? Am I missing something?

No, you aren’t/weren’t missing anything. For some unknown reason, Microsoft decided to make a horrible UI/UX decision and make it difficult/inconvenient/impossible to see the size of recycled files and folders in Vista and up.

REMARK 1: I don't need to see the maximum size that Recyle Bin can contain.

Of course not, you need to know the size of the actual files and folders. For example, if you delete a bunch of stuff, you want to be able to see how much space you will be freeing. Moreover, you may need to know how much certain sets of recycled files and folders had been taking.

REMARK 2: Once you have several files selected in the Recycle Bin, you get a "See more details" link in the status bar

Windows’ refusal to show information about more than 15 files is yet another baffling design choice. Worse,

but clicking on that does not display the total file size. Microsoft has apparently changed this.

In addition to all the other problems with Explorer and the Recycle Bin, it is simply flat-out broken. There is a bug in Explorer which prevents the Recycle Bin from showing the size of selected items in the bin if even one shortcut or folder is selected. It doesn’t matter how many items you’ve selected, if even one of them is a shortcut or folder, Explorer won’t show the size at all, even though it clearly knows the size of those items per the Size column next to them.

Anyway, what you want is a solution. It turns out that the simplest solution is to use the free shell-enhancer Classic Shell, which is meant to fix Windows by restoring the shell to how it was in XP which everybody was happy with for the most part. In addition to all the other things it improves, one of the things it restores is the ability to see sizes in the Recycle Bin. It shows the size of all selected items no matter what is selected or how many items are selected (figure 1).

Figure 1: Screenshot of Windows 7 Recycle Bin with Classic Shell installed, showing the size of 21 selected bin items including shortcuts and folders.

Screenshot of Windows 7 Recycle Bin with Classic Shell installed showing size

  1. Navigate to your recycling bin
  2. Ctrl+A
  3. Ctrl+C
  4. Paste everything into another folder

If the paste is large enough, Microsoft will give you a loading bar to the effect of "Moving X gigabytes of memory"

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.