Recycle Bin is one of the most ignored features of Windows 10/11. The reason? Windows users use it so much that they take it for granted, i.e., it’s almost like a haven for them. No matter the file you delete from your Windows PC, you can always restore it from the Recycle Bin. But what if the Recycle Bin gets corrupted, and you can’t utilize it anymore? That spells trouble. Luckily, in this article, we will show you the five best ways to recover a corrupted Recycle Bin on a Windows 11 PC. Let’s dive in!
Reasons for Recycle Bin Corruption in Windows 11
Recycle Bin can suffer from corruption for a plethora of reasons. Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of Recycle Bin corruption:
- An unexpected shutdown or a sudden power outage
- A corrupted DLL or dynamic link library file can hinder the multitasking process of your Windows device.
- An error with your storage drive.
- If the system folder $Recycle.bin happens to encounter some kind of error
- Virus or malware infections can also destabilize the utility, ruining its functionality
No matter how the utility got corrupted, you need to restore it now. Let’s finally look at five different methods that will help you recover the corrupted Recycle Bin on a Windows 11 machine.
1. Use the CHKDSK Utility to Recover Corrupted Recycle Bin
CHKDSK is a frequently used tool that comes pre-installed with every Windows 10/11 device. This tool can scan your system files and fix the corrupted ones. You can fire it up via Windows PowerShell using a few simple command lines. Here’s how you can use the CHKDSK Utility tool to restore the corrupted Recycle Bin:
- Click on the “Search” icon from the “Taskbar,” and type “Windows PowerShell.”
- Once the Windows PowerShell shows up in the search results, click on the “Run as administrator” option in the right panel. This will open the “Windows PowerShell” window with admin access.
- Now, type the “chkdsk X: /R” command line and press the “Enter” key. Make sure to replace the “X” with the letter of the corrupted drive.
- CHKDSK utility will automatically scan the chosen drive for corrupted files and system errors, and fix them. Once the scan and fixing process is complete, close the Windows PowerShell and “Restart” your computer. The changes will take effect once your PC reboots.
2. Recover Corrupted Recycle Bin by Running System File Checker
CHKDSK is a useful tool as long as you know which drive contains corrupted files responsible for the Recycle Bin corruption. Thus, if you don’t know exactly which drive is corrupted, using the CHKDSK utility tool to scan every drive of your PC is a rather time-consuming task. In this case, running SFC (System File Checker) on your Windows 11 PC is the ideal option as it can scan and repair the whole system regardless of the drive. Here’s how you can use SFC and recover the corrupted Recycle Bin:
- Click on the “Search” icon from the “Taskbar,” and type “cmd.”
- Once the “Command Prompt” shows up in the search result, click on the “Run as administrator” option in the right panel. This will open the command prompt window with admin access.
- Type “sfc /scannow” in the command line and press the “Enter” key.
Now, SFC will automatically scan and fix all the corrupted system files. Once the scan is complete, restart your PC, and your corrupted Recycle Bin should be fixed.
3. Use Command Prompt to Reset Recycle Bin
If the problem is related to the $Recycle.bin system folder, you can always use the command prompt to reset the corrupted Recycle Bin. Here’s what you need to do:
- Open “Command Prompt” with the administrator privileges.
- Now, type the “rd /s /q X:\$Recycle.bin” command line and hit the “Enter” key. Once again, replace “X” with the letter of the drive where the corrupted files are located.
Once the command line is done processing, close the command prompt, and restart your computer. Your corrupted Recycle Bin will be reset to its default settings.
4. Restoring Recycle Bin in Windows 11 via Control Panel
Not a big fan of Command Prompt? No problem. You can also reset and restore the Recycle Bin using the Control Panel. Control Panel is a built-in utility that comes with every Windows 11 device. If you’re looking for a more graphical and beginner-friendly way to reset the Recycle Bin folder, Control Panel is the best choice. Here’s how you can use it to recover the corrupted Recycle Bin:
- Click on the “Search” icon from the “Taskbar,” and type “Control Panel.”
- Once the “Control Panel” option shows up in the search results, click on it. This will open the Control Panel window.
- Now, navigate to Appearance and Personalization → File Explorer Options. A new “File Explorer Options” window will show up.
- Click on the “View” tab and uncheck the “Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)” box under the “Advanced Settings” section.
- Click on the “Apply” button.
- Select the “File Explorer” icon from the “Taskbar” to open it.
- In the navigation bar, type the “C:\$Recycle.Bin” path, and hit the “Enter” key.
- Delete every content available in the “$Recycle.bin” folder and restart your Windows PC.
That’s it. The changes will take effect once your PC reboots and the Recycle Bin is restored.
5. Scan Your Windows 11 PC for Virus or Malware Threats
If none of the methods mentioned above worked, then the problem might be related to the intrusion of malicious viruses and malware. Cybercriminals can use viruses in many ways to steal your data or freeze it to fulfill their goals. Therefore, the corruption of your Recycle Bin folder could be a result of virus and malware infections. To fix this problem, you must scan your computer to locate the viruses or other malicious threats, and use antivirus applications to eliminate them. The first step should be a deep all-system scan. And Microsoft Defender, the built-in antivirus program offered by Microsoft, is one of the best tools for it.
Here’s how you can use Microsoft Defender to scan your computer for external threats:
- Click on the “Search” icon from the Taskbar and type “Windows Security.”
- Once the “Windows Security” app shows up in the search results, click on it. This will open the “Windows Security” window.
- Now, navigate to Virus & threat protection → Scan options.
- Click on the “Microsoft Defender Offline scan” option and then click on the “Scan now” button.
Now, Microsoft Defender will scan the whole Windows 11 PC for viruses and malware threats. Once the scan is complete, your computer will automatically reboot. You can check the scan results later by navigating to Windows Security → Virus & threat protection → Protection history. If you find any trace of viruses on your PC, use a renowned antivirus application to eliminate the threats and restore the corrupted Recycle Bin.