Earlier today, I deleted a large folder on my external hard drive by clicking on the folder's icon and hitting the delete button. Note that I will NEVER do this again. The folder's icon disappeared immediately but, since then (4+ hours), I've had a "Recycling" dialog with an endlessly scrolling (and hence, useless) progress bar on my screen.

The dialog informs me it is recycling 377232 items (23.6 GB) but it doesn't tell me how far it's gotten or how much is left to do. I don't see any of the deleted files in my Recycle Bin, presumably because the only thing which would appear is the folder itself, when it's finished deleting.

How can I figure out how much longer this #@^$# deletion is going to take, or at least what percentage of the files have already been processed? What would happen if I hit the cancel button on the dialog or unplugged my hard drive?

I'm using Windows 7 by the way.

  • I would hit cancel and try manually removing a few files (maybe 50-100 at a time) until you get to a manageable amount and then do what you did originally. As far as what will happen if you hit cancel, probably nothing much... Something may pop up and say something to the effect that it was unable to complete the task you gave it:) – L.B. Jun 13 '14 at 3:55
  • Related question: Mass deleting files in Windows – and31415 Jun 13 '14 at 7:42
  • Yeah, I read that question, and31415...unfortunately not until after I'd started the deletion though. As I stated in the original question, I'll know better for next time. – Swiftheart Jun 13 '14 at 21:15

If you want to permanently delete the files, select them, and press SHIFT-DELETE and then the files are not transferred to the recycle bin. This operation will go MUCH faster.

  • While this suggestion is good, I don't think this answer OP's question. – justhalf Jun 13 '14 at 10:09
  • As I stated in the original question, I already know NEVER to do this again! I was looking for a progress marker, not a way to go back in time to more efficiently do something I'd already done. – Swiftheart Jun 13 '14 at 21:14

Large external deletes take upto a full day, cleared heaps of photos of a galaxy note 3 on USB3 (around 18gb), took around 20hrs over all.

  • This is good to know even if it's not an exact answer. My deletion did eventually finish but for a while I was wondering if my hard drive had just gone crazy. Thanks for the comparison. – Swiftheart Jun 13 '14 at 21:16

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