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How to Delete Backup Files in Windows 10

Please note: This post mainly focuses on system restore points.

Backups are nice. But they also clog your hard-drive — which in my opinion is necessary — but in contrast, many think it’s not. When it comes to Windows 10, there are a couple of mechanisms in place to ensure you’re able to get up and running — in the event your operating system blows a fuse on you.

And while as appreciated these features are, as mentioned, some folks don’t want them, or simply, just want to get rid of the disk space it occupies.

To that end, to delete backup files in Windows 10, primarily, there are two places you’d have to look.

Place 1: Windows System Restore

Windows has an automatic feature of creating restore points (if enabled). According to Microsoft’s support site, a restore point is essentially a “snapshot” of your core files (to put it succinctly). The biggest advantage of a restore point is that you don’t have to install the entire operating system again. With a restore point, you can transition back to a working Windows state based on when the restore point was created.

Nevertheless, as far as restore points go, you can control:

  • How much space it will occupy (when creating restore points).
  • Disabling it entirely.
  • Deleting all restore points.

How to Delete Windows 10 Restore Points

Follow the steps below, to delete windows 10 restore points.

Step 1: Search for “system” in your start menu.

how to navigate to windows system control panel settings
As shown, to get started, search for system in your start menu.

Step 2: From the main “system” window, divert your attention to the left-most section, and select “system protection.”

windows 10 main system control panel setting window
A typical Windows 10 “System” setting window.

Step 3: From the consequent “System Properties,” choose the configure button.

windows 10 system properties window
Hit the Configure button as step 3 of deleting Windows Restore point backups.

Step 4: Finally, from the subsequent pop-up, click on the “delete” button to erase restore points.

system protection for windows pop-up
As the final step, click on the delete button.

At this step, you can also:

  • Make decisions about disk space allocation for creating a restore point/system protections. Note that “as space fills up, the older restore points will be deleted to make room for the new ones.”
  • You can disable system protection entirely.

Place 2: Disk Cleanup

Technically, what I want to touch on is tied to the system restore point; however, I bring this up because, with this option, you can keep the most recent restore point and delete the rest.

To do so, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Open the Disk cleanup App. You can search for it in the start menu.

Step 2: Once you’re on the main window, elect to go with the “Clean up system files” option.

The Main Disk Cleanup Window.

Step 3: Once done, navigate to the “More Options” tab, and then finally, from the second section, go for the “Clean up…” button. To clarify, the button under the System Restore and Shadow Copies area.

Windows 10 system restore and shadow copies clean up option.

Other Places

Outside of the two options discussed, there is the regular disk cleanup option where you may have a previous Windows Installation files, and the File History where you can backup files to an external drive from your Libraries, Desktop, Contacts, and Favorites folders.

If you have been using the file history feature, you’d be familiar with it. Regardless, if you need to get an introduction to Windows File History backups, you can check out this post from How-To Geek.

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Conclusion

When it comes to backups, there could be several interpretations about it — especially in Windows 10. Although, in general usage, people often allude to the Windows 10 core system file backups.

To delete backup files in Windows 10, mostly, from my experience, you’d have to work with System Restores. Other than that, there is a disk cleanup and the file history option, which technically isn’t that directly related to core files, in my opinion. Still, if freeing up hard drive space is your ultimate motive, they are worthy of exploration.