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.
- Open up a command prompt window as an administrator.
- 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.BIN||The 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