There are plenty of good reasons why you might want to set up Windows 10 backups. When something goes wrong, a backup can help you restore your files and system with little to no data loss. Unfortunately, the downside is a lack of space—these files can fill your hard drive, especially on smaller-sized drives.
While we’d always inform that you have automated system backups, Windows will fill up your drive with extra backup files that you can delete from time 2 time, including average Windows update data. If you want to understand how to delete backup files in Windows 10, here’s what you need to do.
Deleting Windows File History
Windows 10 offers a far more useful system for regular file backups than older Windows versions, thanks to a built-in file backup system. Using Windows File History, copies of files in specific critical folders are saved regularly, from every 10 minutes to once daily, with copies saved indefinitely.
Over time, that can mean a vast increase in the storage space used. If you want to understand how to delete backup files in Windows 10, deleting your Windows File History backups should be the first task.
- First, you’ll need to open the Windows Settings menu—right-click the Windows Start menu and press Settings. From here, press Update & Security > Backup. If you’re using Windows File History already, touch the More options button.
- In the Backup options menu, you can change how often file backups made and how often saved before being deleted. Change these following Back up my files and Keep my backups drop-down menus.
- By default, the Keep my backups option is set to Forever—changing this to delete backups every month, or when space is needed, will increase your available disk space.
- You can also disable Windows File History entirely by pressing the Stop using this drive option in the Backup options menu. This will remove your present Windows file backup drive, therefore disabling the feature entirely.
- If you want to remove any saved backup files kept by File History immediately, you’ll need to right-click the Windows Start menu and press the Windows PowerShell (Admin) option.
- In the PowerShell window, that seems, type fhmanagew.exe -cleanup 0 to remove all but the recent file backups, then hit enter to run the command. You can replace 0 with another set of days to leave a more extended period of backups saved. If the command is successful, a pop-up window will appear to confirm.
Removing Windows System Restore Points
Backing up files in older Windows versions was an all or nothing affair—at least where built-in features were a concern. One of the advanced backup features was the System Restore feature, which stored a snap of your current Windows installation and files.
This feature still is in Windows 10 and is used to create restore points for major system updates. If it’s enabled and too many restore points made, it can take up precious disk space. Removing some of these restore points can be an excellent way to clear some space for other files.
- To remove System Restore points, press the Windows + R keys on your keyboard to begin the Run window, type system properties protection, and hit enter.
- This will open the System Properties window. In the System Protection tab, touch the Configure button.
- In the System Protection window, touch the Delete button. This will remove any saved System Restore points. You can also adjust how much disk space this feature uses by moving the Max Usage slider.
- While it recommends, you can also disable this feature and restore all of the System Protection reserved space for frequent usage by pressing the Disable system protection radio button. Press OK to save your settings once done.
Once disabled, any space before reserved for System Restore points will be released for you to use elsewhere.
Deleting the Windows.old Folder After Windows 10 Updates
If you want to clear space after a major Windows 10 update, you should start by deleting the Windows. Old folder. This folder is automatically created as a backup of your older Windows installation when a major Windows update occurs.
You don’t have to worry about deleting this folder in most cases—Windows will automatically remove it a month after an upgrade takes place. If you want to remove it sooner to regain the space faster, however, you can.
- To delete the Windows. Old folder, you’ll require to run the Disk Cleanup tool. Press the Windows + R key and type cleanmgr, then click OK to launch it.
- In the Disk Cleanup window, press the Clean up system files option to view options to clear system files.
- In the Files to delete a list, make sure that the previous windows installation(s) checkbox is enabled. To save additional space, you can also allow other settings or folders to wiped at this point. Once you’re ready, press OK to begin the deletion process.
This will remove the Windows. Old folder, restoring several gigabytes of space in the process. You won’t be able to restore the older Windows installation once you do this, so make sure that any updates or new installations are working correctly.
Clearing Disk Space with Windows 10
While you should be able to delete any unnecessary backup files in Windows itself, there are other ways to create more space in Windows 10. For instance, you could look for larger files and remove them to free up space for other apps and data.
If that doesn’t work, you may need to look at uninstalling Windows 10 software to make room for other essential files—including your important Windows 10 backup files.
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