When you right-click on the Recycle Bin icon, is the Empty Recycle Bin option greyed out? This can be quite inconvenient because you now have to open the recycle bin, select all the files in it, and then press the Delete key to clear the Recycle Bin. In this tutorial, we’ll show the simplest way to fix this problem. Let’s get started.
Steps to Fix Empty Recycle Bin Icon Greyed Out Problem
The reason why the Empty Recycle Bin icon is greyed out is because either you or some other application modified the Recycle Bin icon. To fix this and restore the Empty Recycle Bin option, you need to restore the default Recycle Bin icon. Here’s how you can do it:
Open the Settings app by pressing the Windows key + I shortcut.
In the Settings app, click on Personalization on the sidebar and then click on Themes on the right panel.
Scroll down and click on the Desktop Icon Settings option under Related Settings.
Select the Recycle Bin (full) icon and click the Restore Default button.
Select the Recycle Bin (empty) icon and click the Restore Default button.
Click the OK button.
With that, the Empty Recycle Bin option is restored. From now on, you can right-click on the Recycle Bin icon and select this option to quickly clear the Recycle Bin.
Alternative Method Using Registry Editor
Note: You need administrative privileges to modify the registry.
If you are looking for an alternate method, you can manually edit the registry to fix the problem. However, modifying the registry is an advanced task only recommended for pro users. If you wish to follow this method, back up the registry and then proceed.
First, open the Run dialog box by pressing Windows key + R. Next, enter regedit in the Run window and click OK to open the Registry Editor.
In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following folder.
On the panel, you will see three string values: (Default), empty, and full. Double-click on each value and change its Value Data as given below.
- (Default): %SystemRoot%\System32\imageres.dll,-54
- empty: %SystemRoot%\System32\imageres.dll,-55
- full: %SystemRoot%\System32\imageres.dll,-54
Once you make the changes, this is how it should look in the Registry Editor.
Finally, close the Registry Editor and restart your computer. Once the system has been restarted, the Empty Recycle Bin option is restored and usable once again.