How to empty all the recycle bins for all users in Windows

To empty all the recycle bins on a machine  with  multiple user profiles type:

rd /s c:\$Recycle.Bin

recycle bin

 Confirm that you want to empty the recycle bins. Type Y  to carry out the command or N to cancel the command.

Keep in Mind:

  • This command works with Windows Server 2012 and 2008, as well as Windows 8 and Windows 7
  • It must be run with elevated privileges.
  • To run it on Windows Server 2003, Vista or Windows XP use
    • rd /s c:\recycler
  •  The command above will empty the recycle bins on the C drive. To empty recycle bins on other drives,  use the appropriate drive letter. (for example:  rd /s D:\$Recycle.Bin)

Break down of the command:

  • rd = Remove directory
  • /s = sub-directories
  • C:\ = the %systemdrive%.  It could be D, E, F or another letter.
  • $Recycle.Bin = the name of the hidden, protected recycle bin folder. When it it gets deleted Windows recreates it.
As always, please be careful when executing any command and always verify any information you read on the internet.  Consult Microsoft for official documentation.