Windows – Which folder is recycle bin in on Win7? How to check files there

recycle-binwindows 7

I was using another account before. Let me call it account A. And I deleted a lot of files to the Recycle Bin at that time. But before I removed account A I forgot to empty the Recycle Bin.

My question is, are my files still there? I've searched and found that the Recycle Bin may live in $Recycle.Bin, but I can't open files there so I can't know what they are. Any help how to open deleted files or how to delete them permanently?

Best Answer

Accordind to this site

Recycle Bin is located in a hidden directory named \$Recycle.Bin\%SID%, where %SID% is the SID of the user that performed the deletion.

You will need to know the SID of the account that was removed, or you can browse through the available folders to determine which one you need. Since this is a hidden folder you won't see anything in it by default.

To see the folders

  • Open Explorer
  • In the location bar enter C:\$Recycle.Bin and press Enter
  • Click Organize
  • Select Folder and Search Options
  • Select the View tab
  • Select Show hidden files, folders, and drives
  • Untick Hide protected operating system files
  • Click OK

You can also do this from the command line but the file names are encoded as explained in the linked article. When I tried this I noticed I could see more files than were visible in Explorer.

  • Click Start
  • Type cmd in the seach box and press Enter
  • Type cd c:\$recycle.bin and press Enter
  • Type dir /ah and press Enter to see all the available folders.
  • Type dir *.* /s and press Enter to see all the files in all the available folders (with their encoded names).

In my case I found two folders that contained files. One was my recycle bin. The other was from another user and contained files that I could not see in Explorer. I could however copy these files elsewhere, open them, etc.