Backing up data is one of the safest and most common tasks for millions of Windows users around the world. This task is very convenient and offers many advantages; however, with time, if many backups have been made, you will have to deal with disk space problems. This problem has several alternative solutions, which you can learn about in this post; Also, you will know a powerful software that will help you a lot to avoid having to delete old backup files periodically.
Making backups is one of the most mandatory activities for users, who thank this task they will be able to have a copy of their files, which means security. This task prevents the definitive deletion of their files if an unexpected event occurs like a problem with the disk, a virus, or malware appears and accidentally deletes determinant information.
The benefits that making backups can provide are too many, but, like any task of this caliber, it can bring some problems. One of them is that if you are used to backing up your information day in day out, you may start to deal with disk space problems.
You should take into account that, after making a backup (unless you back up just part of your information), all your files, documents, and folders will be copied to an image or folder, which makes you have a duplicate of your data. If you have a disk with a large amount of storage space, you should not worry, but if you have one of the average capacities, you will probably have to delete old backup files after some time.
Then, possibly you may be concerned because, if your disk does not have enough space, you will no longer be able to make any backup and, therefore, all your information stored on your PC may be vulnerable. There are several solutions to this problem; in the next, you can learn some of them.
If you want to delete previous backups, there are currently several ways to do it. Next, I will share with you two effective methods that will help you do this task.
File History is a Windows built-in tool that makes backups of the files that are in the predefined folders of the operating system (Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and Desktop) as well as OneDrive files if you have activated the service.
This tool is practical for making backups if you have stored your information in the aforementioned folders, so you can make use of it if you don't need more than the basics.
Through File History, you can also delete previous versions of folders and files; To do so, you merely have to follow the following steps:
Step 1: Open Control Panel
Click on the Windows icon and write control panel, then click on the best match option.
Step 2: Go to System and Security
Once you open Control Panel, click on System and Security.
Step 3: Open File History
In this section, click on File History.
Step 4: Open Advanced Settings
Click on Advanced Settings from the list on the left part of the screen.
Step 5: Open Clean up versions
Click on Clean up versions, which are in the Versions part of the window. Windows will immediately display a dialog box.
Step 6: Delete older versions of files and folders
On this dialog box, click the arrow in the grey box, and you will see a drop-down list. Choose to delete older versions of files and folders from 1 month to 2 years. Next, click on Clean up and File History will start to delete old backup files and folders. Be patient; this task may take several minutes to complete, specifically if you selected a long period.
There is a second method that I recommend you. It is about activating the cleanup process through fhmanagew.exe, which is a program that can delete older file versions based on File History record. To run this program, you must use Command Prompt; below, I will show you how to do it through a few steps:
Step 1: Open Command Prompt tool
Click on the Windows icon and then type cmd, right-click on Command Prompt, and select Run as administrator from the drop-down list.
Step 2: Type the corresponding command
Once you opened Command Prompt tool, type the next command to delete backup files older than 30 days: fhmanagew.exe -cleanup 30 and then press Enter. The process will start immediately, and the old backup files should be deleted. You must have in mind that this task may take several minutes.
Hint: The typed command was on a 30-day basis. If you want to delete old backup files from another time, only change the number, for example:
fhmanagew.exe -cleanup 60 deletes files older than two months.
fhmanagew.exe -cleanup 365 deletes files older than one year.
If you want to delete all the older versions of backup files but the latest one, type number 0, for example, fhmanagew.exe -cleanup 0
Step 3: Finish the process
If fhmanagew.exe deleted the older version files correctly, a pop-up window will appear with the message The cleanup completed successfully. Now, the only thing you have to do is to click on OK to finish this task.
Step 4 (optional): Confirm
If you want to confirm that you successfully deleted the old backup files, you can write the same command again, and a window like this should appear.
Making backups through Windows is very practical, but you must bear in mind that you will have to delete previous backup versions with some frequency. If you do not like doing this task that can be cumbersome and uncomfortable, I recommend using AOMEI Backupper. This professional software will not only prevent storing countless versions of old files and folders, but you will also be able to make backups in a comfortable method adjusted to your needs.
To make a backup of your files and folders, you will only have to do the following:
Step 1: Go to File Backup
On the left tab page, select Backup and then select File Backup.
Step 2 (optional): Name the task
You can name the backup on the Task Name box to help you distinguish it from other backups.
Step 3: Add files and folders
Click Add File or Add Folder so you can select files/folders you want to back up. (You can add multiple folders and files as the source; you can also directly drag folders and files to the Backupper as the source.)
Step 4: Select the backup location
Select the location as the destination path to store the image file. If available, select a destination storage medium that is different from the source medium, which contains the original files to ensure that you can restore your files/folders if you cannot use your source storage medium anymore.
Step 5 (optional): Schedule backups
Click Schedule on the lower part of the window displayed in step 4. Then, click on General, and you may choose to schedule automatic backups at a specific time. Click the arrow next to Daily and select the option you want. Finally, click on OK.
Click Scheme on the lower part of the window displayed in step 4. Choose the number of backups that you want to store on your disk. Then click on OK.
Step 6: Start backup
Finally, click the Start Backup button and wait for the process to complete.
Making backups is a very convenient task, and it prevents user information from being deleted without having the possibility of recovering it. One of the few disadvantages of this task is that, if a person does it periodically, it will produce many versions of copies of files and folders, which will take up a lot of disk space. Although you can delete previous backup versions, it is much more practical to use AOMEI Backupper, since you can configure it so that old backup files are not stored and the backups are more secure and compatible with your preferences.