Windows – deleted Win7 files do not show up in recycle bin

recycle-binviruswindows 7

On Windows 7, I do not see files that I delete from the local computer in the Recycle bin. The problem occurs all the time in an otherwise healthy computer. The funny part is that if I have the RECBIN window open, and go to another window and delete a file, it WILL show up in the RECBIN!

I have tried 2 solutions suggested on the net:

  1. Installing and running ccleaner (the 'fix' operations)

  2. Using an elevated command line to delete ( rd /s /q C:\$RECYCLE.BIN ) the
    folder C:\$Recycle.bin. From here

But I still can't see the files that I delete in my recycle bin.

Here are my observations :

  • If the RECBIN is empty and I delete a file, the RECBIN icon on the desktop changes to a "full" state.

  • If I double and open the RECBIN I will NOT see any files in it (as I should).

  • If I try to restore this one file that I just deleted (by clicking on button "restore all items") the file will also NOT be restored.

  • If I try to delete all items, the pop up window will rightly count that I have exactly 1 file in the RECBIN and ask me to verify that I permanently want to delete it. Saying yes will also clear the desktop RECBIN icon (it'll show an empty RECBIN).

  • Stating the funny part, again: If I open the RECBIN window and let it open, and then go and delete a file, the file WILL show up in RECBIN normally!!! This is most odd.

Like I said, ccleaner and rd /s /q C:\$RECYCLE.BIN solutions did not work for me (even after a restart), so i'm all ears for anything else you have to suggest!

Thank you very much in advance for your help!

EDIT: for the shake of completeness I'll just add that I am running the latest version of ESET antivirus business edition. This is an office environment and the AV's have been in place for a long time. It doesn't automatically mean I wouldn't have a virus, but i'm not unprepared.

Best Answer

Thank you everyone for your help. It appears the answer lies in something I had not thought about - and didn't inform you about.

The computer is loaded with civil engineering structure analysis software. This software uses usb license keys, as a means of protecting software piracy and fraud.

Normally these keys are 24/7 on the computer as their corresponding applications are used on a daily basis, but once I removed them and restarted the pc, voila I could see the contents of the recycle bin normally.

This is not exactly a solution , but really pinpoints the cause of the problem - It is possible Windows consider the USB keys as some sort of storage(?) device and try to create the corresponding X:\$RECYCLE.BIN folder , where X is the drive letter of the USB key. Then again these usb sticks never show up as removable storage devices in windows explorer, so I don't really know.

Still in the short term this is a quick fix.

THank you all once again for your help.

This link gave me the idea to try that: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-performance/cant-see-deleted-files-in-windows-7-recycle/28b20a44-c2d8-4814-a968-2448f5e2755c