Cannot empty Windows Recycle Bin: directory is not empty

Updated: 03/06/2020 by Computer Hope
Windows Recycle Bin

When attempting to empty the Microsoft Windows Recycle Bin, you may get an error indicating that a directory exists in the Recycle Bin that is not empty even though it may show no files. To resolve this issue, try the following suggestions.

Empty the Recycle Bin from Safe Mode

Boot the computer into Windows Safe Mode and open the profile that contains the Recycle Bin that cannot be emptied.

In Safe Mode, empty the Recycle Bin again. If you continue to get the same error, continue with the following suggestions. Otherwise, if emptied, reboot the computer and allow it to boot back into Normal mode.

Run ScanDisk on the computer

If corrupt files exist on the computer, often they can cause random issues when attempting to delete them. Make sure corrupt files do not exist on the computer by running ScanDisk on the computer.

Additional information