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External hard drive has recycle bin--how to access?

by jaliw / September 26, 2006 5:05 AM PDT

I'm using an Iomega 80GB HDD external hard drive for backup. It's attached to a PC running windows xp. When it gets full it the backups don't work, and deleting items just sends them to a recycle bin which I can't find an icon for. Occasionally I'll get a message to the effect that the disk is full, and do I want to empty the recycle bin? And that frees up enough space to continue the backups.

How do I access the recycle bin without waiting for the 'disk full' message?

If it makes a difference, I just switched from using Iomega's software to attaching the drive as a plug'n'play.

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One Recycle Bin for all drives. . .
by Coryphaeus / September 28, 2006 4:24 AM PDT

All drives connected to a PC use a common recycle bin, although the "deleted" data still resides on the original drive. On your desktop, empty the Recycle Bin and it will remove the deleted data from all drives.

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That doesn't look correct to me
by jdcar81 / July 22, 2010 1:55 AM PDT

If all drives have a common recycle bin, then why doesn't the recycle bin have a file I just deleted from my hard drive?

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deleting a file wil
by wb2001 / July 24, 2010 8:50 AM PDT

It uses the Desktop Recycle Bin, regardless of the partition, or drive ID, physical location. That is only for standard deletion. That moves the file to the recycle bin. The more powerful Shift and Delete key option superimposes complete deletion. There is no recycle bin file.

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Wrong Answer. There is NOT one Recycle Bin for all drives!
by luap_42 / November 7, 2010 7:47 PM PST

The default may be set to one Recycle Bin for all drives. That does NOT mean that this is physically the case. Read on:

1. if you disconnect an external drive before it is finished processing, then the Recycle Bin folders on that drive may become detached from the host machine's Recycle Bin and cannot be accessed thereafter. You will then end up with "deleted" files in Recycle Bin folders on the external drive which are STILL USING SPACE on the external drive, AND with NO ACCESS from the host or any other machine.

2. If you manually configure each drives Recycle Bin Properties seperately, then each drive will have it's own Recycle Bin with varying percentages of teach drive being used.

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Actually, you're both correct...
by John.Wilkinson / November 7, 2010 9:44 PM PST

Coryphaeus' reply sums it up nicely: "All drives connected to a PC use a common recycle bin, although the "deleted" data still resides on the original drive."

Windows only has one Recycle Bin. However, the Recycle Bin is not a folder in and of itself; it is a virtual folder that simply displays all recoverable files previously deleted from currently-mapped storage devices. Thus, you are correct that the files are actually stored in hidden system folders on the respective drives, and that occasional glitches can occur such that the files remain but do not appear in the Recycle Bin. Nevertheless, those are known as recycler folders, not the unified Recycle Bin, which Coryphaeus alluded to in his original reply over four years ago. And, just to be clear, those individual recycler folders exist, and are used, regardless of whether you choose to manage the drives' maximum allocation independently.


P.S. I have pruned this thread so that the original discussion is not overshadowed by today's dispute.

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The Correct Solution
by luap_42 / November 7, 2010 8:13 PM PST

it sounds like you have a Recycle Bin which has become detached from the host machine's Recycle Bin. Whatever is in it is now unavailable and will NOT appear in the host machine's Recycle Bin. The space will never be recovered from the external drive.

One solution to this problme is this:

1. Do NOT do this unless you are technical and/or very sure of what you are doing. First ensure you are an adminstrator user.

2. Bring up File Explorer (Windows Key + E). In the Menus, go to Tools - Folder Options - View. Scroll down and select "Show hidden files and folders", and also un-select "Hide operating system files".

3. Now click on the external drive in the left panel "Folders". You should see at least one or both of these: $RECYCLE.BIN and RECYCLER. They will contain one or more subfolders which cannot be viewed while windows is running called something like: "S-1-5-21-3173086387-2615592467-1408983588-1000".

4. For each of the two top level folders the process to remove them completely is the same.

a. Right-Click each top level folder and select properties. Un-select "Read-Only" and click OK, then click OK to do same to all sub-folders. Wait til done.

b. Do same for each sub-folder inside each top-level folder.

c. Delete each top level folder and click OK to do same to all.

5. Bring up File Explorer (Windows Key + E). In the Menus, go to Tools - Folder Options - View. Scroll down and select "Do not show hidden files and folders", and also select "Hide operating system files".

Now you will have all that unused space clogging up a useless Recycle Bin available again.

Hope this resolves your problem. I've just run into this problem myself on a 750Gb drive and recovered 38GB of wasted space.
You may then want to consider your options with your external drive's Recycle Bin:

i) Right-Click on the main Recycle Bin and select Properties. On the Global Tab you can select "Configure drives independently". If you do you will then be able to set the Maximum size of the Recycle Bin on each logical drive (partition). You may also set files to bypass the Recycle Bin altogeter for that logical drive.

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by Marcy666 / November 20, 2011 7:24 AM PST
In reply to: The Correct Solution

Hey luap_42 .
Thank you so much for your detailed answer! I've looked up this info everywhere but I couldn`t find and I felt totally lost and frustrated that I could do nothing about the deleted files which occupied my external HDD.
Many thanks Grin

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Same situation-but using am Iomega 1Tb EHB MAC formatted
by gandhi_57 / March 2, 2012 4:22 PM PST
In reply to: The Correct Solution

Hello Luap_42

I have this exact problem, except that my Iomega is specifically a Mac EHB.

I do have VMWare, but since it it Mac formatted, this detailed process won't apply to me. Do you have ANY suggestions on how to achieve the same end solution of emptying the detached Trash files from the EHD using Terminal Mac commands? My Time capsule is enroute, as I recently moved back to the US-hence why I was using this EHB as a temporary back-up. Directly deleting the back-up file from the drive is what caused this issue.......

I've done a lot of research on Mac forums and nothing has worked.

Any help is greatly appreciated. Sad

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by alex3518 / September 25, 2013 1:05 AM PDT
In reply to: The Correct Solution

Yes but it is not working with external drives, usb, cd. How to create recycle bin for usb ... ?

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My way around the problem..
by musman0451 / April 17, 2015 7:30 PM PDT
In reply to: The Correct Solution
Just a suggestion, I had the same problem on my PC. My external hard drive was holding all or part of my recycled info on the hard drive which I couldn`t see on my computer.
But when I plugged my Hard Drive into my T.V. via my "ASTORE" multimedia unit it showed me on screen the Rycycle Bins + their Sub Folders, With all my other folders...
Using the remote which gives me the option to delete Any or All Files from hard drive I was able to REMOVE All the Recycle Bins Sub Folders.
After plugging My 1 Terabyte Seagate Hard Drive back into my computer I had restored 53.5 GIG. of info space back to my Hard Drive...

My Astore unit is about 6-7 years old
But I would think that their lastest models have this same deletion option..
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Disk cleanup will remove them
by daverising / June 2, 2012 9:54 AM PDT

Under system tools, bring up Disk Cleanup, pick the external drive and you will see an option to empty that drive's recycle bin.

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Thank you!
by weyemar / June 4, 2013 2:14 PM PDT

So I had a hard drive that was disconnected from the original host machine and had 170+GBs of junk in the recycle bin. Disk Cleanup worked like a charm! I don't know why I didn't think of that!

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