Clear the recycle bin for all users

Here’s an interesting problem I’ve run into recently with a Plumtree / ALUI / WCI server (but, of course, applicable to any server or desktop). A portal server was running out of disk space, and using the Cool Tool WinDirStat, I saw that D:\Recycler\ – the hidden Recycle Bin folder – was sucking down a ton of disk space, but my Recycle Bin was empty.

I knew deleting files in Windows simply moved them to a hidden folder (\Recycler – one hidden folder per drive), but didn’t realize it maintained a separate deletion history for each user. Turns out, since a lot of Systems Administrators had accessed the system before me, their recycle bins were consuming space – but because the folder was hidden, I couldn’t clear those out through Windows Explorer.

The solution was a Google Search away, and I came across this article from LifeHacker: Force Windows Recycle Bins to Empty for Every User on a System. This command simply deletes that hidden folder, effectively purging everyone’s recycle bin and reclaiming the lost space:

rd /s c:\recycler

Remember to run it as Administrator, and you may find some unused space you never knew was available. And don’t worry about breaking the Recycle Bin – Windows automatically recreates the folder when it’s not present.

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