Empty Recycle Bin for all User Accounts


This is a useful one liner to help feel up some space on multi-user systems.

If a user is not aware of [shift + delete] to by pass the recycle bin (free tip if you weren’t aware) they will likely not think to empty the recycle bin and not actually free up any space as a result.
Multiply this by multiple users and it can soon start adding up.

If you need to free up space quickly or just generally tidying up the following can be a quick and easy way to claw back some space.


  1. Open up a command prompt window as an administrator.
  2. Type in or copy/paste the following line and hit return.
rd /s /q %systemdrive%\$RECYCLE.BIN

If the no errors are returned then the command executed successfully and all user recycle bins should now be empty.


The following is a quick explanation of what the different parts of the command mean.

rd(Command) Deletes a directory.
/s(Switch/Option/Flag) Deletes the specified directory as well as subdirectories and all contents.
/q(Switch/Option/Flag) Quiet mode. Will not prompt for confirmation so will carry out command without any interaction
%systemdrive%\$RECYCLE.BINThe path to the directory to delete in this case “%systemdrive%” is a variable for the drive letter that Windows is installed on. “$RECYCLE.BIN” is the location of where all user recycle bins are held.

Command Documentation: rd | Microsoft Docs

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