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How to Delete Backup Files in Windows 10

Have you recently upgraded your operating system from an older version to Windows 10?

There are plenty of good reasons to upgrade to Windows 10. From its advanced security features to ease-of-use, Windows 10 has a lot more to offer than any other operating system in the market. So, you have several reasons to be happy about the decision to upgrade; the same goes if you have bought a brand new Windows 10 PC. 

I am assuming you have–like most people–created a system image in a recovery drive to bail you out if something bad happens to your operating system. This system image is referred to as a “backup file”. If Windows fails to boot in the future, you can easily restore the system using this file.   

However, in some cases, the recovery can get full and you will need to free up some space by deleting the older, less useful, contents of this drive. This post is intended to help you with this process. 

What is the best way to delete backup files in Windows 10?

To delete some of the backup files, you can either do with the usual way of navigation or use the common prompt; command prompt being the faster way to get the job done.

First, let’s see how to delete backup files via File History.

Step 1: Open command prompt either by searching for “run” in the Windows search bar or simple using the shortcut “Windows Key + R”. Next, type the command “control” and press the enter key. You will be directed to a window that looks something like this.

Step 2: Click the first option “System & Security”. Next located File History(highlighted in the picture below) and click on it. 

How to Delete Backup Files in Windows 10

Step 3: As you have created a recovery drive keeping the File History on, you will see a green color square right in front of the “File History” table. Navigate your mouse towards the left sidebar and locate “Advanced settings”. Click on it.

Step 4: Once you click on the Advanced settings, you will be directed to a window where you can choose the duration you wish to save the backup files. I am assuming you have preselected “Daily” but from the context of this post, it is irrelevant. So, simply find a link that says “Clean up versions” and click on it. 

Step 5: Finally, you can delete files older than 1 year(you can delete files older than 2 years if you need more space to be freed). Just hit enter and you will no longer have to worry about freeing up disk space for your recovery drive. Well, at least not for 10-12 months.

Secondly, you can also try deleting backup files using Command Prompt only

Step 1: Open run the app and enter the command “cmd” to open the command prompt windows. Before typing in the command to delete file versions that are older than one month or a year, you need to know what the program FhManagew.exe does. 

According to Microsoft, “the program FhManagew.exe gets rid of file versions that exceed a specified age from the currently assigned File History target device“.

To delete file versions older than a month: FhManagew.exe -cleanup 30

To delete file versions older than a year: FhManagew.exe -cleanup 365 -quiet

Conclusion

I hope this post helped you free up some space by deleting backup files exceeding a specified age. You should also know that Windows 10 saves backup files on a daily basis or as assigned by you. So, expect the recovery drive to get full after 10-12 months. You will have to perform the same steps to solve this issue in the future.

Also Read- How to Run Old Games on Windows 10

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