There are many good reasons why you might want to set up a Windows 10 backup. When something goes wrong, a backup can help you restore your files and system with little or no data loss. Unfortunately, the downside is wasted space – these files can fill up your hard drive, especially on smaller drives.
While we always recommend that you maintain automatic system backups, Windows will fill your disk with unnecessary backup files that you may want to delete from time to time, including old Windows update files. Here’s what you need to do if you want to know how to delete backup files in Windows 10.
Delete Windows File History
Windows 10 offers a much better system for regularly backing up files than older versions of Windows, thanks to its built-in file backup system. Windows File History keeps copies of files in certain important folders on a regular basis, from every 10 minutes to once a day, and copies are kept indefinitely.
Over time, this can mean a significant increase in used storage space. If you want to know how to delete backup files in Windows 10, deleting Windows file history backups should be the first task on your list.
- First you need to open Windows Settings Menu – right-click the Windows Start Menu and click Settings. From here click on Update & Security> Backup. If you are already using Windows File History, click the Advanced Options button.
- In the Backup Options menu, you can change how often files are backed up and how often they are saved before deleting. Change them in the Back up files and Save my backups drop-down menus.
By default, Keep my backups is set to Forever. Changing this value to delete backups every month or when space is required will increase the available disk space.
- You can also turn off Windows File History completely by clicking the Stop Using This Drive button in the backup options menu. This will delete your current Windows file backup drive, so this feature will be disabled completely.
- If you want to immediately delete all saved backup files stored in File History, you need to right-click the Windows Start Menu and select the Windows PowerShell (Administrator) option.
- In the PowerShell window that opens, enter fhmanagew.exe -cleanup 0 to delete all but the most recent backed up files, then press Enter to run the command. You can replace 0 with a different set of days to preserve a longer backup period. If the command is successful, a confirmation popup will appear.
Removing Windows System Restore Points
Backing up files in older versions of Windows was an all-or-nothing business â€” at least in terms of built-in functionality. One of the earliest backup features was System Restore, which kept a snapshot of your current Windows installation and files.
This feature still exists in Windows 10 and is used to create restore points for major system updates. If it is enabled and too many restore points are created, it can take up valuable disk space. Deleting some of these restore points can be a good way to free up space for other files.
- To remove system restore points, press Windows + R on your keyboard to open the Run window, type systempropertiesprotection and click Enter.
- The System Properties window will open. On the System Protection tab, click the Configure button.
- In the System Protection window, click the Remove button. This will delete all saved system restore points. You can also change the amount of disk space used by this feature by moving the “Maximum Usage” slider.
- Although not recommended, you can also disable this feature and restore the entire System Protection Reserved Space for general use by clicking the Disable System Protection radio button. When finished, click OK to save the settings.
Once disabled, any space previously reserved for system restore points will be reclaimed for use elsewhere.
Delete Windows.old folder after Windows 10 updates
If you want to free up space after a major Windows 10 upgrade, you should start by deleting the Windows.old folder This folder is automatically created as a backup of your old version of Windows when a major Windows update occurs.
In most cases, you don’t need to worry about deleting this folder – Windows will automatically delete it one month after the update. However, if you want to delete it sooner to free up space, you can.
- To delete the Windows.old folder, you need to run the Disk Cleanup tool. Press Windows Key + R and type cleanmgr, then press OK to run it.
- In the Disk Cleanup window, click the Clean Up System Files button to view options for cleaning up system files.
- Make sure Previous Windows Installations is selected in the Files to Remove list. To save extra space, you can also allow other settings or folders to be cleared at this stage. When ready, click OK to begin the uninstall process.
This will delete the Windows.old folder, restoring several gigabytes of space. However, after doing this, you will not be able to restore the old Windows installation, so make sure any updates or new installations are working correctly before proceeding.
Free up disk space with Windows 10
While you should be able to delete any unnecessary backup files in Windows itself, there are other, more efficient ways to free up space in Windows 10. You can, for example, search for larger files and delete them to make room for other applications and files.
If that doesn’t work, you may need to uninstall your Windows 10 software to make room for other important files, including important Windows 10 backup files.