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How to Delete Older Versions of File History in Windows 10

information   Information
File History was first introduced in Windows 8, and has been improved in Windows 10.

You can use File History to automatically back up versions of your files on a schedule to a location you select to save to. You can select to save backups to an internal hard drive, externally connected drive (ex: USB drive), or you can save to a drive on a network. You can add, remove, and exclude folders to be backed up by File History.

Over time, you'll have a complete history of your files. If the originals are lost, damaged, or deleted, you can restore them. You can also browse and restore different versions of your files.

You can set how long you want to keep saved versions of your files backed up by File History before automatically being deleted.

You can also use File History Cleanup at any time to delete versions of files and folders older than a selected age, except the most recent version of a file or folder. All other files and folders, such as versions that were excluded or removed from your libraries, are also deleted from your File History.

This tutorial will show you how you to use File History Cleanup to delete older backed up versions of files and folders for your account in Windows 10.

warning   Warning
Making new backups with File History is no longer supported starting with Windows 10 build 16215.

You can still restore files from an existing File History backup though.

File History will eventually be replaced by a new feature called Timeline.

Update: File History is back in Windows 10 build 16226.


CONTENTS:
  • Option One: To Delete Older File History Versions of Files and Folders in File History Cleanup
  • Option Two: To Delete Older File History Versions of Files and Folders in Command Prompt





Delete Older Versions of File History in Windows 10 OPTION ONE Delete Older Versions of File History in Windows 10
To Delete Older File History Versions of Files and Folders in File History Cleanup

1. Open the Control Panel (icons view), and click/tap on the File History icon.

2. Click/tap on the Advanced settings link on the left side. (see screenshot below)

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3. Click/tap on the Clean up versions link in the Versions section. (see screenshot below)
Note   Note
The Clean up versions link will not be available if you do not have any File History versions available on the currently selected drive.


Click image for larger version. 

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4. Select the time period of versions you want to delete, and click/tap on Clean up. (see screenshot below)

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5. File History Cleanup will now start discovering items for the specified time period, and delete them if available. (see screenshot below)

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6. If it didn't find any versions of your files that were that old, click/tap on Close, and repeat step 4 above using a shorter time period if you like. (see screenshot below)

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7. If the cleanup completed successfully, click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)

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8. You can now close the File History control panel if you like.






Delete Older Versions of File History in Windows 10 OPTION TWO Delete Older Versions of File History in Windows 10
To Delete Older File History Versions of Files and Folders in Command Prompt

1. Open a command prompt.

2. Copy and paste the command below for the time period of versions you want to delete into the command prompt, and press Enter. (see screenshots below)
Note   Note
The -quite switch option in the commands below is used to not get a message dialog after deleting older files and folders.

For more details on the FhManagew.exe command, see: FhManagew.exe (Windows)


All but the latest one

FhManagew.exe -cleanup 0

FhManagew.exe -cleanup 0 -quiet

Older than 1 month

FhManagew.exe -cleanup 30

FhManagew.exe -cleanup 30 -quiet

Older than 3 months

FhManagew.exe -cleanup 90

FhManagew.exe -cleanup 90 -quiet

Older than 6 months

FhManagew.exe -cleanup 180

FhManagew.exe -cleanup 180 -quiet

Older than 9 months

FhManagew.exe -cleanup 270

FhManagew.exe -cleanup 270 -quiet

Older than 1 year (default)

FhManagew.exe -cleanup 360

FhManagew.exe -cleanup 360 -quiet

Older than 2 years

FhManagew.exe -cleanup 720

FhManagew.exe -cleanup 720 -quiet

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3. If it didn't find any versions of your files that were that old, click/tap on Close, and repeat step 2 above using a shorter time period if you like. (see screenshot below)
Note   Note
You will not see this message dialog if you used the -quite switch in the command.


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4. If the cleanup completed successfully, click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)
Note   Note
You will not see this message dialog if you used the -quite switch in the command.


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5. You can now close the command prompt if you like.


That's it,
Shawn