|"Firstly, The recycler bin is not hidden, it is just grayed out."|
It being greyed out indicates that it IS normally hidden, AND you enabled showing hidden files and folders in Folder Options - View.
RIGHT click on the Recycler folder, select Properties, and look at the Attributes at the bottom of the Properties window. - there is a greyed out box with a check mark in it beside Hidden - you can't change that when that's greyed out, at least not in Windows itself.
You CAN remove the square "dot" from the Read only attribute box , however., by clicking on it.
"...it is an irritation that it is taking up a chunk of my hard drive ..."
What is the total size of the partition it's on ?
Hold your mouse cursor over the problem Recycler folder - what size does it display in a "baloon" ,
or - RIGHT click on it, choose Properties - what Size does it say there ?
"Size on disk" is the space the data in it occupies on the drive partition that cannot be used for other data, rounded to the next highest number of allocation units for each individual file - e.g. for a partition that is using NTFS software partitioning, that's the next highest multiple of 4 kb (4,096 bytes).
You get the "Cannot remove folder. Access is denied" message or similar when you try to delete the normally hidden Recycler folder in any Windows version, 2000 and up.
That's normal behavior, as intended.
"You asked, ""Why didn't you delete the whole partition Windows 7 (Windows 7 itself) was installed on, and make a new one in XP ?""
Answer: because there were many files I wanted to keep. Deleting the partition would make everything go away and that is not good."
As I said above..."If you had files on it you didn't want to lose you could have copied them to elsewhere before you did that. "
Even if you have no other hard drive partition that has enough space to copy the files you don't want to lose to,
- music, video, movie, picture, document etc.. files are easily burned to CDs or DVDs
- you DO NOT need to copy files for programs you've added that can be easily re-installed
- you can use free "partition manipulation" programs to reduce the size of an existing partition that has lots of free space on it to free up some un-allocated space on the same physical drive that you can make one or more new partition(s) on, copy the data you don't want to lose to that (those) new partitions, then delete the partition Windows 7 was installed on, and either
- add the un-allocated space freed up by doing that to another partition
- or make another new partition in the un-allocated space.
E.g. the freeware Easesus Partition Master Home Edition can do all of those things, without you losing the existing data on partitions that you reduce or expand in size.
"You noted, ""You may not be able to delete the contents of a Recycler folder that was made in Windows 7 by emptying the Recycle Bin in XP.""
Sounds Correct, but the Recycle Bin was created in Windows XP, (not 7)."
Since you used the existing partition that was made by Windows 7, the Recycle Bin was created by XP, but the Recycler folder WAS NOT.
"Lastly, you suggest, "How to take ownership of a file or folder in Windows XP (etc)"
That does not work. It gives the error code, "Access denied"."
You have not explained what you did, if anything.
If you're getting the "Access Denied" message when you merely try to open the Recycler folder to see it's contents, if you didn't try the Take Ownership procedure for XP for accessing the contents of the Recycler folder, and do it correctly, the situation isn't going to change.
If you DID try the Take Ownership procedure for XP for accessing the contents of the Recycler folder, and did it correctly, and you STILL can't access the contents of the Recycler folder that was made in Windows 7, that doesn't surprise me.
( I can access the contents of the Recycler folder in XP, or in Vista, fine, when they're the only operating system that made the Recycler folder. )
You can't delete the Recycler folders in Windows in any case, at least not in Windows itself.
"It would be so much simpler if there were a windows or command prompt command that would do the job."
There's no such thing as far as I know.