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Windows 7: 57gb in external's hidden Recycle Bin?

02 Sep 2010   #1
Microsoft MVP

57gb in external's hidden Recycle Bin!

I had forgotten every drive has a hidden Recycle Bin. Today I was scanning with Malwarebytes and notice it taking a long time on J:Recycle Bin.

Unhid System Files and there it was in External root with 57gb in it!

Guess I just assumed deleting External drive files puts them in desktop's Recycle Bin.

What would routinely empty this hidden bin or how would anyone even know to do so? Can it eventually take up all the External HD space? Most people don't run Disk Cleanup on Externals, do they?

Just askin. Maybe this will helps others. Thanks.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Sep 2010   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 10 Pro x64

Actually that one baffled me for a while, I was trying to figure out where all that missing space was. It was in the hidden recycle bin. I'm curious to know what would empty this too.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Sep 2010   #3

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

When you have the external drive connected, I would think that Disk Cleanup would clear it. CCleaner should be able to as well.

If all else fails, you could use the tutorial below to delete the $Recycle.bin file for the external drive to clear and reset it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

03 Sep 2010   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

I use 3 USB hard drives and always empty the recycle bin as they call it when I delete a lot of files off one of them. Never noticed deleted files sticking around like that either. Most of my drives I have set to not allow the trash files to get larger then 4 gigs that way I don't have to worry about a bloated trash file.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Sep 2010   #5
Microsoft MVP


I dont' keep it plugged in so CCleaner really hasn't had a shot at it. I run CCleaner when I defrag and I don't defrag the External based on what I've read.

How do I set a size limit on hidden Recycle Bins?

Guess I'd better check for one on my stick. (Nope, none there).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Sep 2010   #6

Windows 7

may be this VB script shuld help... its used to change the limits of recycle bin...

Attached Files
File Type: reg rbsize.reg (316 Bytes, 52 views)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Sep 2010   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1

I do as Brink suggested. Hook up the external and run Disk Cleanup.

I discovered that this was necessary because the external I use for disk images for 4 computers was being reported as full in Acronis (boot from CD), but in Windows it showed hundreds of GB free. After some serious head scratching....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Sep 2010   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x86

Either I must be missing something here or it's a x64 issue. Here (W7 Ultimate x86) I have 2 USB drives permanently hooked up and their Recycling folder gets emptied automatically, whenever I empty the one on Desktop. Also the custom settings I reached through the properties of the desktop recycle bin.
Perhaps I'm just lucky

My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Sep 2010   #9
Microsoft MVP


When I click on the External HD single hidden $RECYCLE.BIN, it opens a folder with two Recycle Bins both of which have a default setting limiting size. Strange how this limit apparently didn't work before, and stranger still why there are two Recycle Bins with exact same settings/location:

Attached Thumbnails
57gb in external's hidden Recycle Bin?-capture.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Sep 2010   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x86

Curious...I just found out, that on my external 2TB drive I also have 2 Recycling bins.
Only the one which is on top on your picture (the one with the lock) is inside the other one
While on the 1TB external drive the folder with the lock is non existent.
Don't ask me why...since it's the older drive, it's certainly possible that I delete the whole thing at one point.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 57gb in external's hidden Recycle Bin?

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