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It's only at the system's volumine. Although I'm logged as an administrator, I cannot open this! The shown exception isn't so self-explanatory, as you've probably noticed. What's the purpose of this directory and how to check the content?


According to Microsoft, S-1-5-20 is the Network Service. This folder you see was created when that account moved something to the Recycle Bin. When any user makes use of the Recycle Bin, a folder is created with their Security Identifier (SID).

You can test it by logging in as another user and deleting something (by use of the Recycle Bin), then logging in as your main user and seeing the SID there.

If you don't want it, do rmdir /q /s C:\$Recycle.Bin from an elevated command prompt and it'll go away, but next time that user deletes a file, it'll reappear.

  • 1
    Actually, I just deleted something and was able to see SID directory created in \$Recycle.bin without having to switch users. – HeatfanJohn Sep 8 '12 at 23:27

That isn't a folder. It's a security identifier.

SID: S-1-5-20
Name: NT Authority
Description: Network Service

A security identifier (SID) is a unique value of variable length that is used to identify a security principal or security group in Windows operating systems. Well-known SIDs are a group of SIDs that identify generic users or generic groups. Their values remain constant across all operating systems.

This information is useful for troubleshooting issues involving security. It is also useful for potential display problems that may be seen in the ACL editor. A SID may be displayed in the ACL editor instead of the user or group name.

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    Each SID subfolder of $Recycle.bin is the actual recycle bin of the respective user. Deleting any such folder won't be a problem in itself, because the operating system will just re-create it the next time the user logs on. I'd check the content of the folder first, though, to be on the safe side (dir /a /s \$Recycle.bin\S-1-5-20). To be able to delete the folder you'll probably have to remove the system and hidden attributes first (attrib -s -h \$Recycle.bin\S-1-5-20 /s). – Ansgar Wiechers Sep 8 '12 at 23:31

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