I came across a case where Recycle Bin icon in Windows Vista not changing to show whether or not it is full or empty. It would either stuck on the empty icon or the full icon, but the Recycle Bin icon updates correctly when you press the F5 button on the keyboard to refresh the Desktop manually. I have observed that this problem occurs if you use the Restore Default button in the Desktop Icon Settings dialog to reset the Recycle Bin icon, and this appears to be a minor bug in Windows Vista. Use one of the following methods to correct this problem:
Download recyclebin_icon.zip, and and extract the contents to a folder. Double-click recyclebin_icon.reg to run it. Click Yes when asked for confirmation.
Note: It’s important that you try the solution below even though the Desktop Icon Settings dialog may show the correct icons for Recycle Bin (empty) and Recycle Bin (full).
1. Right-click on the Desktop and choose Personalize
2. In the Tasks pane, click Change desktop icons
3. Select the Recycle Bin (full) icon and click Change Icon
4. In the Change Icon dialog, choose the full Recycle Bin (Refer Fig 1 below)
5. Click OK to close the Change Icon dialog.
6. Select the Recycle Bin (empty) icon and click Change Icon
7. In the Change Icon dialog, choose the empty Recycle Bin icon (Refer Fig 1 below)
8. Click OK to close the Change Icon dialog.
9. Click Apply, OK
The icon highlighted in blue in the Change Icon dialog above is the full Recycle Bin icon, which has the Icon Index of 48. The empty Recycle Bin icon has the Icon Index of 49. The 2nd method can be used in Windows 7 as well.