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Windows 7: Shadow Copies - Delete

Shadow Copies - Delete

How to Delete Shadow Copies in Vista and Windows 7
Published by Brink
29 May 2011
Published by

How to Delete Shadow Copies in Vista and Windows 7

information   Information
Shadow Copies (Previous versions) are copies of files and folders created by Windows Backup when you back up your files, and copies of files and folders that Windows automatically saves as part of a restore point. When system protection is turned on, Windows will only automatically create previous versions of files and folders that have been modified since the last restore point was made.

This will show you how to delete shadow copies in Vista Ultimate, Business, and Enterprise editions, and all editions of Windows 7.

warning   Warning
Deleting a shadow copy will also delete the restore point it was part of.





BEFORE YOU START
To View Volume Shadow Copies Details

NOTE: You will need to do this first to know what drives/volumes letters you have shadow copies on, and for how much disk space the shadow copies use before conitnuing on to the options below. The example shadow copies below contain two restore points on drive C: , and two backups on drive F: .
1. vssadmin list shadows
NOTE: This command lists existing volume shadow copies, the time the shadow copy was created and its location. You need this to see and know the Shadow Copy ID needed in OPTION TWO and OPTION THREE below, and to see how many shadow copies are on each hard drive letter.
A) Open a elevated command prompt.

B) In the elevated command prompt, type the command below and press enter.
vssadmin list shadows

Shadow Copies - Delete-shadows.jpg
2. vssadmin list shadowstorage
NOTE: This command lists the volume shadow storage space usage, the allocated space while a shadow copy is active and the maximum space that can be used. This is useful to see how much total space is being used on each hard drive letter by the shadow copies on it.
A) Open another elevated command prompt.

B) In the elevated command prompt, type the command below and press enter.
vssadmin list shadowstorage

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3. Set these command windows aside for easy reference when you do either OPTION ONE, OPTION TWO, or OPTION THREE below for what you would like to do to delete the shadow copies.



OPTION ONE
Delete Shadow Copies Using "Disk Cleanup"

NOTE: Disk Cleanup will delete all shadow copies and restore points saved to the selected hard drive letter except the most recent copy.
1. Open the Start Menu, type cleanmgr into the search box, and press Enter.

2. Select the drive/volume letter that you want to delete shadow copies on, and click on OK. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: You will not see this window unless you have more than one drive or partition on your computer.
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3. You will now see this screenshot below for a moment. (see screenshot below)
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4. Click on the Clean up system files button. (see screenshot below)
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5. If prompted by UAC, then click on Yes (Windows 7) or Continue (Vista)

6. Repeat steps 2 and 3.

7. Click on the More Options tab, and click on the Clean up button in the bottom System Restore and Shadow Copies section. (see screenshot below)
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8. Click on the Delete button. (see screenshot below)
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9. Click on OK. (see screenshot below step 7)

10. Click on the Delete Files button for the final confirmation. (see screenshot below)
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11. When the shadow copies and restore points are finished being deleted, Disk Cleanup will close.



OPTION TWO
Delete Shadow Copies Using "wmic shadowcopy delete" Command

WARNING: This option is for advanced users, and should not be tried by beginners.
1. Be sure you do the "BEFORE YOU START" section at the top first.

2. Open a elevated command prompt.

3. In the elevated command prompt, type wmic and press Enter. After a few seconds wmic:root\cli> will appear.
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4. Copy and paste the command below and press enter.
shadowcopy delete
5. You will now be asked Y/N for if you wanted to delete the available shadow copies one by one. Type your answer and press Enter after each one. (see screenshot below)
Shadow Copies - Delete-shadow-2.jpg

Note   Note
The listed shadow copies that you answer Y/N to delete or not are referenced by their Shadow Copy ID number. You can compare this Shadow Copy ID number with the ones listed from step 1 in the "BEFORE YOU START" section to know for sure which one you are deleting or not.

For example, the Shadow Copy ID below for the one I deleted in step 5 above is the bottom shadow copy listed in my examples in step 1 of the "BEFORE YOU START" section for the C: drive. You can also compare the Shadow Copy Volume number between step 1 and step 2 in the "BEFORE YOU START" section for additional information about the shadow copy.

Shadow Copy ID
{1FAE1C7E-729C-4BE5-92D9-1FD643336AE1}

Shadow Copy Volume
{62027452-787d-11e0-8219-806e6f6e6963}


6. When finished, close all command prompts.



OPTION THREE
Delete Shadow Copies with "vssadmin delete shadows" Command

WARNING: This option is for advanced users, and should not be tried by beginners.

Note   Note
Only shadow copies that have the ClientAccessible type can be deleted using this command.

For example, if you look at my examples in step 1 in the "BEFORE YOU START" section, you will notice that only the C: drive/volume shadow copies have Client-accessible listed in their Attributes, and not the F: drive/volume shadow copies. This means that I can only delete the C: drive/volume shadow copies using this command. I would have to use OPTION TWO to be able to delete the F: drive/volume shadow copies instead.
1. Be sure you do the "BEFORE YOU START" section at the top first.

2. Open a elevated command prompt.

3. Do step 4, 5, or 6 below for how you would like to delete the shadow copies.

4. To Delete the Oldest Shadow Copy on a Specific Volume
NOTE: This can be handy if you have more than one shadow copy on a drive/volume letter, and wanted to only delete the oldest one.
A) Type the command below and press Enter.
NOTE: Substitute C: in the command below for the drive letter that you want to delete the oldest shadow copy in instead.
vssadmin Delete Shadows /For=C: /Oldest
B) Type Y or N to delete the shadow copy or not. (see screenshot below)
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C) Go to step 7.
5. To Delete All Shadow Copies on a Specific Volume
A) Type the command below and press Enter.
NOTE: Substitute C: in the command below for the drive letter that you want to delete the oldest shadow copy in instead.
vssadmin Delete Shadows /For=C: /All
B) Type Y or N to delete the shadow copies or not. (see screenshot below)
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C) Go to step 7.
6. To Delete a Specific Shadow Copy from Any Volume
A) Type the command below and press Enter.
NOTE: Substitute {Shadow Copy ID} in the command below with the actual Shadow Copy ID number of the shadow copy that you want to delete from step 1 of the "BEFORE YOU START" section.
vssadmin Delete Shadows /shadow={Shadow Copy ID}
For example, if I wanted to delete the 3rd shadow copy with the Shadow Copy ID of {ef4d4bbc-b569-4c1c-b8d3-a46af09e0ddf} in my example in step 1 of the "BEFORE YOU START" section, I would type this below.
Code:
vssadmin Delete Shadows /shadow={ef4d4bbc-b569-4c1c-b8d3-a46af09e0ddf}
B) Type Y or N to delete the shadow copy or not. (see screenshot below)
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C) Continue on to step 7.
7. When finished, close all command prompts.
That's it,
Shawn





Related Tutorials

19 Aug 2011   #1
whatttupG

windows 7 64 bit pro
 
 

wow... awesome post, I had no idea that stuff existed

however, this doesn't seem to be my problem, i have two physical HDD... a drive C and a drive P, using the above vssadmin list shadows.. i find there are 8 shadow copies, all on drive C, nothing on drive P

using the vssadmin list shadowstorage, i find drive C has 9.72 Gb of 10 Gb used, 1%, and again nothing for P

any other ideas? thank you for posting


My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2011   #2
JaidynM

Windows 7 Ultimate x64/Windows 8 Consumer Preview x64/Ubuntu 11.04
 
 

Another great tutorial. Well done, Shawn.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2011   #3
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whatttupG View Post
wow... awesome post, I had no idea that stuff existed

however, this doesn't seem to be my problem, i have two physical HDD... a drive C and a drive P, using the above vssadmin list shadows.. i find there are 8 shadow copies, all on drive C, nothing on drive P

using the vssadmin list shadowstorage, i find drive C has 9.72 Gb of 10 Gb used, 1%, and again nothing for P

any other ideas? thank you for posting
Hello WhatttupG, and welcome to Seven Forums.

You will not have one for the P: drive unless you have turned on system protection for the P: drive, then created a restore point.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


19 Aug 2011   #4
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by JaidynM View Post
Another great tutorial. Well done, Shawn.
Thank you Jaidyn.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2011   #5
kado897

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

As always a great tutorial Shawn. Did you know that CCleaner has a function to delete individual RPs except the most recent. It is in the Tools section. CCleaner - Optimization and Cleaning - Free Download
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2011   #6
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Hello Keith,

Thank you. Yep, it's a nice feature that was added to CCleaner.

System Protection Restore Points - Delete
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2011   #7
kado897

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Ah. I missed that one Shawn.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2011   #8
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

No problem mate. Thank you for mentioning it though.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2011   #9
xxxdannyxxx

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1
 
 

Hello Shawn

Will this delete those annoying "system image restore points" under show more restore points. The only way Ive found to delete these is to redirect my windows backup to my image drive and then delete the images from there, but that forces windows backup to perform a full back up next time its scheduled.

Danny
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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