Empty Recycle Bin Command Line | All Information

Do you want to learn how to empty the Recycle Bin from the command line using CMD, PowerShell, or Terminal? This step-by-step guide will help you efficiently delete files and free up disk space. Keep reading!

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16 May 2024

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empty Recycle Bin with PowerShellEmpty Recycle Bin with PowerShell:

  1. 1. Launch "PowerShell" as an administrator.
  2. 2. Input the following cmdlet in PowerShell to empty the Recycle Bin: Clear-RecycleBin -Force
  3. 3. Execute the command by clicking the "Enter" key.
  4. 4. To confirm, press the "Y" key on your keyboard.

Emptying the Recycle Bin is a routine task for many computer users, but did you know that you can do it more efficiently through the command line? 

Command-line operations provide an extra layer of control and flexibility for you if you're comfortable with text-based interactions. In this guide, we'll explore how to empty Recycle Bin from the command line, enabling you to streamline this process.

In the world of Windows computing, efficient Recycle Bin management plays a crucial role in maintaining an organized and clutter-free digital workspace. This guide delves into a particular method of accomplishing this task: empty Recycle Bin.

With the command line, you'll get to enjoy the advantages:

  • 🌟First, it allows for streamlined Recycle Bin emptying, but it also offers control and efficiency. 
  • 🌟Whether you need to script the process for multiple files, automate the operation, or prefer a text-based interaction, the command line is your solution.
  • 🌟While the conventional method of using the graphical user interface is widely known and used, it may not always be the most efficient choice, particularly for users dealing with large volumes of deleted files or seeking automation. 

There are alternative methods, such as built-in Windows utilities, desktop shortcuts, and even third-party software, that can be employed to empty the Recycle Bin.

In this guide, we will explore the process of emptying the Recycle Bin through command-line instructions. By diving into the world of command-line convenience, users can elevate their Recycle Bin management to a new level of efficiency and precision. 

If you are ready to unlock the power of the command line to optimize your Windows experience, let's learn how to empty the Recycle Bin from the command line.

Tip 1. Empty Recycle Bin with Command Prompt 

The Command Prompt provides one of the methods for emptying the Recycle Bin, and you can also delete files with command lines. It uses a distinct command for this task. Here's how to clear your Recycle Bin using the Command Prompt:

Step 1. Begin by clicking on the "Start menu" button and entering Command Prompt in the search box.

Step 2. Launch the Command Prompt with elevated user privileges by selecting "Run as administrator" from the search results.

Open Command Prompt and select Run as administrator

Step 3. Input the following command to empty the Recycle Bin and press the Enter key: rd /s %systemdrive%$recycle.bin.

Type in empty recycle bin command in CMD

Step 4. When prompted to confirm, press the "Y" key on your keyboard to proceed.

Click on Y to confirm the prompt

Tip 2. Empty Recycle Bin with PowerShell 

PowerShell serves as the default command-line shell in Windows 11, allowing you to execute various system maintenance tasks using cmdlets. You can compel the Recycle Bin to empty using the Clear-Powershell cmdlet following these steps:

Step 1. Launch "PowerShell" as an administrator.

Open Windows PowerShell and run it as an administrator

Step 2. Input the following cmdlet in PowerShell to empty the Recycle Bin: Clear-RecycleBin -Force.

Input Clear-RecycleBin -Force

Step 3. Execute the command by clicking the "Enter" key.

Step 4. To confirm, press the "Y" key on your keyboard.

You may learn more PowerShell command lines in the following passage:

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PowerShell Check If File Exists | Four Commands to Check

Do you want to check if a file exists using PowerShell? Then, this post explains how to use PowerShell to check if a file exists. Read more >>

How to Recover Emptied Recycle Bin with Recovery Software 

In case you accidentally lose your data due to emptying your Recycle Bin, you don't need to worry. You can retrieve those seemingly lost files using powerful data recovery software such as EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro. Its robust recovery features are designed to handle many data loss scenarios, making it an essential tool for users who prioritize their data.

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.7

This tool is a valuable asset when you find yourself in need of recovering deleted files. Whether your files were lost due to a Recycle Bin emptying, accidental deletions, or even a system crash, this software can come to the rescue. 

This recovery tool can help you recover unsaved Word documents, cherished photos, videos, and other data. The ease of use, combined with its powerful recovery capabilities, makes it an attractive choice for both beginners and advanced users.

Check the written tutorial below to undelete files from Recycle Bin with EaseUS data recovery software:

Step 1. To specifically recover files from emptied Recycle Bin on Windows 11/10/8/7, hover the mouse pointer over the "Recycle Bin" option under the "Hardware Disk" section and click "Search for Lost Data".

select the recycle Bin to scan

Step 2. EaseUS data recovery software will start a quick scan immediately for all deleted files, and later a deep scan will launch automatically to scan more lost files. After the scanning process, you can use the "Filter" feature to select a specific file type, such as Pictures, Word, videos, etc.

filter files to recover

Step 3. Once you locate the files you want to restore, you can double-click it for a full preview. Then, select the target files and click "Recover". We suggest you select a different volume or an external USB drive to save the recovered files to avoid data overwriting. You can choose a cloud storage, such as OneDrive, Google Drive, etc., and click "Save" to save your recovered files.

recover lost files from Recycle Bin

We will also provide a video to guide you through as you empty the Recycle Bin from the command line.

  • 00:20 Recover deleted files from the Recycle Bin
  • 00:52 Recover emptied Recycle Bin with EaseUS Recycle Recovery Software
  • 02:05 Recover deleted files from File History Backup 
recover deleted files

If you've found this guide helpful on Recycle Bin recovery, consider sharing it with your friends and colleagues on social media. Data loss is a common concern, and sharing this guide might be the lifeline someone needs to recover their valuable files.


Bottom Line 

Emptying your Recycle Bin with command lines provides a level of control and efficiency that may not always be available through traditional methods. 

With just a few keystrokes, you can free up valuable disk space and ensure that your sensitive data is securely removed from your system.

While there are alternative ways to empty your Recycle Bin in Windows, employing command lines provides a direct and swift approach. 

It's mostly beneficial for you if you're comfortable with the command prompt and appreciate the precision it offers.

On top of that, if you encounter any form of data loss, you can always rely on EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro to recover your data. This user-friendly tool comes equipped with a variety of advanced and quick features designed for the secure recovery of your data from the Recycle Bin.

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.7

Use Command Line to Empty Recycle Bin FAQs 

The answers and questions below will help you learn more about how to use the command line to empty the Recycle Bin. Check them out:

1. Can you empty the Windows Recycle Bin from the command line?

Yes, you can effectively achieve this by permanently removing the Recycle Bin directory located on the drive containing the system files. It's important to note that this drive might not always be the C: drive, so it's advisable not to hardcode that value to ensure the process works universally.

2. How to recover files deleted by the command line from Recycle Bin?

To recover lost files from your Recycle Bin using the command line, follow these steps:

Step 1. Hold the "Windows + R" keys at the same time to open the "Run dialogue."

Step 2. Type cmd and hit "Enter."

Step 3. In the command prompt, input cd and hit "Enter."

Step 4. Then, input cd $Recycle.bin/ and press "Enter."

Step 5. Proceed by typing attrib -r -s -h and pressing "Enter."

Step 6. Finally, type dir */s and press "Enter."

3. How to delete a file from the Recycle Bin in Command Prompt?

To delete a file from your Recycle Bin through the Command Prompt, follow these steps:

Step 1. Access the file system by executing the dir /a .trash command.

Step 2. Enter the recycle bin folder by executing the cd .trash command, and then run the dir command to list the contents.

Step 3. To delete the desired file, use the del command followed by the file name.

Step 4. A confirmation prompt will appear. Type Y for yes and hit "Enter."

This process ensures the file is permanently removed from the Recycle Bin. Be cautious when using the Command Prompt, as the deleted file cannot be recovered once this action is performed.

4. How do I run the Recycle Bin from the command line?

To access the Recycle Bin using the command line, follow these steps:

Step 1. Right-click on the bin file you wish to access.

Step 2. Select "Open With" to choose the application through which you'd like to view the contents.

Step 3. The selected application will display the contents of the bin file.

Additionally, you can also view the contents of the bin file directly within the Windows Command Prompt. To do this, open the Command Prompt and type the "dir" command to list the contents of the bin file.

  • Updated by

    Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech lives easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. In her spare time, she loves sharing things about her game experience on Facebook or Twitter.…
  • Written by

    Dany is an editor of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. She focuses on writing articles about data recovery on Mac devices and PCs. She is devoted to improving her writing skills and enriching her professional knowledge. Dany also enjoys reading detective novels in her spare time. …
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