By Ivy / Last Updated May 21, 2021

Need to delete file history folder 

File history was first introduced in Windows 8 and later inherited in Windows 8.1/10, and designed to keep multiple versions of your files on a location you specify, it can be internal or external hard drive, network location. 

But if just turn it on without configure it correctly, you will find your Windows 10 file history taking up too much space, in a very short time or later. Then, you may want to delete file history folder so as to free up disk space, below is an example.

“I’ve set up File History in Windows 10 to delete backups older than one month, but the automatic cleanup is not working: the backup drive contain files a few months ago. How do I clean up my Windows backup files? Any kindly advice will be appreciated. Thanks in advance.”

File History Backup Disk Full

To delete file history folder, the first way is using File History Cleanup feature in this software. You can delete older versions of files and folders from older than 1 moth to older than 2 years, also there is an option called all but the lastest one. 

However, sometimes, you failed to perform File History cleanup with error code, such as, 8004050e,  800405ff, or directly throwing an error message like "could not clean up file history data element not found", you will use the seond one, it's FhManagew.exe command.

If that's does not work, you can reset File History in Windows 10 and then backup your files again or directly use a different backup software. If you are not sure which one to one, check this article: Windows File History vs. Backup

Use File History Cleanup to delete file history folder

To delete file history data manually, you can check the used disk space of file backup using disk cleanup. Go to disk cleanup, select the disk you want to clean, here is C: drive, and then check the size of User file history, it includes  all  versions of files you stored. 

Don't delete backup versions using Disk Cleanup, otherwise you will lose all of your backup versions. If it actually takes up much disk space, you can go to use Windows 10 File History to delete older versions using Clean up versions. Please follow the steps below. 

1. Plug in your backup drive and make sure it can be detected. Then, go to File History by searching control panel and then selecting System and Security > File History

2. Here you will see if file history is on, if it is, you can delete the backups. If not, i'm sorry, you can't, the file history folder is locked.

3. On the left side column of File History, click the  “Advanced settings” option.

Advanced Settings

4. Scroll down to the Versions section, select Clean up versions. Wait for a whille, you will see File History Cleanup window with 7 options, from older than 1 month to older than 2 years, as well as All but the latest one. 

>> If your Windows 10 takes up too much disk space, tick All but the latest one to delete as many versions as possible.

>> If it's just a reguar disk space management, tick any given age. 

Clean Up Versions

After that, click Clean up to start the deletion.

The process may take a while, it depends the size of your file history folder, just wait until you can the prompt "The cleanup completed successfully". Now, you are free from file history full in Windows 10, but it's temperarily if you cannot configure the backup frequency and backup retention reasonably. 

To configure them, you have two ways, file history advanced settings or backup options.

In Advanced Settings window, go to Versions, click the drop-down menu of Save copies of files, select a longer backup frequency, such as, daily. And then, In the Keep saved versions section, select a shorter backup retention, such as, 1 month, 3 month, or Untill space is needed. 

Until Space Is Needed

In the Backup options window(searching backup settings and then click More options under the back up using File History.), scroll down to Back up my files, change Every time (default) to a longer one, such as, daily. Then, in the Keep my backups, change Forever(default) to a shorter, such as, 1 month.

Backup Options

Use FhManagew.exe to delete old file history backups

As mentioned eariler, File History clean up may fail, and there is nearly no working method to fix it.  At this time, you can try FhManagew command, it's able to delete file versions that exceed a specified age from the currently assigned File History target device. This program is available in Windows 8 and later. Then, let's get started to learn the detailed steps.

1. Press “Win+R” to open the Run window, type “cmd” and hit “OK”.

2. Then, copy and paste the following command and hit Enter. Here I’ll take the criteria “Older than 1 month as an example and show you the right command.

FhManagew.exe -cleanup 30

FhManagew.exe -cleanup 30 -quiet

File History Cleanup CMD

Notes:

  • If you want to delete other version of files and folders, you just need to replace 30 with corresponding number.
  • In theFhManagew command, every month is 30 days. That’s to say, if you want to delete backup files older than 3 month, you can replace 30 with 90. But there is an exception,the number in the criteria "All but the latest one" is 0.

3. Click “OK” to exit.

Reset File History in Windows 10 and backup specific folders

If you can neither free up disk space using file history cleanup nor FhManagew, the last resort is to reset file history and backup specific folders in Windows 10 again. Also, if you don't want encounter this problem again sooner or later, you could try a professional backup software with strong disk space management function

Step 1. Go to Control Panel > System and Security > File History. Then, click Turn off if it says File History is on. 

Turn Off File History

Step 2. Open File Explorer, copy and paste the path of File History, it's usually %UserProfile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\FileHistory.

Step 3. Delete all the files or folders in this path. 

Step 4. Go to File History again and click Turn on

Step 5. Click Advanced settings, set a longer backup frequency and shorter backup retention, such as, save copies of files in daily and keep saved versions for 1 month

Step 6. Click Save changes

Directly use a powerful file backup software with disk space management feature

File History helps when you want to save copies of your files so as to get them back if they are lost or damaged, but duringuse, you may encounter similar problems, such as, file history not working, file history does  not recognize this error, file history drive disconnected, file history cannot add folder, failed to perform File History clean-up (error 80040507), etc. 

To avoid these annoying problems, you can turn to a professional file backup software, such as, AOEMI Backupper Professional. It supports file backup, system backup, disk backup, and partition backup, so you can backup any items youu want, not limited to files or folders.

Then, how to delete old backup images regularly? You could use its Backup Scheme feature, which allows you to delete file backup via a specific role. It supports 5 options, namely,  Full Backup Scheme, Incremental Backup Scheme, Differential Backup Scheme, Space Management Scheme and Other Backup Scheme.

Download it to have a try right now! It has 30-day free trial, so you don't need to spend any money before making the final decision.

Download Free Trial Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step 1. Launch AOMEI Backupper Professional, click  “File Backup”. Also, you can use other 3 backup solutions per your needs.

File Backup

Step 2. Click "Add File" or "Add Folder" to select the files or folders you want to backup. Then, click where the arrow point and select a backup destination.

Add File Or Folder

Step 3. Click Schedule to save copyies of your files and then enable backup scheme by clicking Scheme to delete old file backups per your needs. 

In the Schedule settings window, select Daily/Weekly/Monthly and to Full/Incremental/Differential Backup backup files automatically. Also, you can backup files at specific event with Event triggers or backup files to USB drive with USB Plug in feature. 

Schedule Settings

In the Backup Scheme, select one of them and click OK. Note that the selected backup scheme needs to be consistent with schedule backup, otherwise this backup will execute the backup task according to the backup scheme setting.

Enable Scheme Backup

Step 4. Confirm this backup task and click Start Backup.  Then, it will start the first backup, and then delete backup files automatically when the backup number or backup cycle reaches the value you set.

Written in the end

File History Cleanup is a very useful feature, which is capable of deleting older version of file history backups. But some users report that the automatic deletion does not run automatically sometimes. At this case, you need to run it manually.

Also, you can FhManagew and Reset File History. But they cannot solve Windows 10 file history taking up too much disk space issue permanently.

In order to solve it fundamentally, you could consider using powerful file backup software with disk space management function, AOMEI Backupper Professional, for example. For server users, AOMEI Backupper Server could be a better choice.

 To my surprise, its Backup Scheme can not only apply to file backup, but also system backup, disk backup and partition backup as long as you create a backup with “Backup Scheme”. And you will never be bothered by this problem again.