Recycle Bin Icon Does Not Refresh Correctly When Using Custom Icons

When you use a custom icon (.ico) file to customize the Recycle Bin Empty & Full icons manually or via a desktop theme, the Recycle Bin icon may not update or refresh correctly when emptying the Recycle Bin or when you add items to it.

There are actually two variations of the problem:

When you’re using the Windows default icons for the Recycle Bin, Recycle Bin would either stuck on the empty icon or the full icon, but the icon updates correctly when you press the F5 button on the keyboard to refresh the Desktop manually.

Another variation is that the Recycle Bin icon does not refresh automatically only when using custom icon files for Recycle Bin (Full) and Recycle Bin (Empty).

This post mentions the solution for the Recycle Bin icon refresh problem for all versions of Windows, including Windows 10.

[Fix] Recycle Bin Icon Does Not Refresh Correctly When Using Custom Icons

To fix the problem of Recycle Bin icon not refreshing automatically when using custom icons, perform the following registry edit.

  1. Click Start, type regedit.exe and press ENTER
  2. Navigate to the following branch:
  3. In the right-pane, append a comma followed by a 0 (“,0“) after the icon file path.For example, if your custom icon path is:

    Change that to…

  4. Repeat the same for the icon file path for the “full” Recycle Bin icon.
    recycle bin does not refresh

Fix your theme file

If you’re distributing a theme and using custom .ico files in the theme, you may want to update your Theme file (.theme) so that the Recycle Bin custom icon file paths end with the trailing ,0

For example:


[Fix] Recycle Bin Icon Does Not Refresh Correctly When Using Windows Default Icons

If the Recycle Bin doesn’t update or refresh automatically even if using the default icons for empty and full bins, then see if resetting the icons using the Change desktop icons dialog helps.

Reset or Change the Recycle Bin icons

For Windows 10:

  • Right-click Desktop → Personalize → Themes → Desktop icon settings

For Windows 7:

  • Right-click on the Desktop → Personalize → Change desktop icons.
    recycle bin does not refresh
  • To restore the default icons, select the item and use the Restore Default button.
    recycle bin does not refresh

To assign custom icons:

  • Select the Recycle Bin (full) icon, click Change Icon and point to a custom icon file.
  • Select the Recycle Bin (empty) icon, click Change Icon and point to a custom icon file.

Another way to open the Change desktop icons dialog is by running the command control desk.cpl,,0 from the Run dialog. Works in all versions of Windows, including Windows 10.

Reset the Recycle bin icon using Registry fix

To reset the Recycle Bin Full & Empty icons in the registry to Windows default values:

  • Download, and extract the contents to a folder.
  • Double-click recycle_bin_icon.reg to run it.
  • Click Yes when asked for confirmation.

The registry fix applies to Windows Vista through Windows 10. The file sets the following values for Full and Empty icons respectively:


Recycle Bin Icon Does Not Refresh Correctly

Hope that fixes the Recycle Bin custom icon refresh problem in Windows.

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About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.

15 thoughts on “Recycle Bin Icon Does Not Refresh Correctly When Using Custom Icons”

  1. Thank you so much.
    I did as you suggest and it’s done.

    So many sites suggest user to restore default/uninstall theme
    but that’s not what i want.

  2. July 2019: Will not work. I use default recycle bins and deleting an item will not refresh it to full until I actually open the recycle bin (the deleted item is there).

  3. Edit on July, 2019 comment earlier: Resetting the recycle bin worked after restarting. You also have to restart PC now, so add that 🙂

  4. I have manually added “,0” and it works but causes an issue for me when I drag anything onto desktop. For example if I drag a picture from website and place it on desktop, if I drag another one it is placed right on top of it. Same if a program is installed and creates a shortcut on desktop, another shortcut from another installation it’s automatically placed on top. I have both arrange and align to grid disabled. When I removed “,0” from all three reg items drag it works correctly but the bin no longer refreshes.


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