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How To Manage Hard Drive Space Used by Windows 7 Backup and Restore

Windows 7 offers a much better utility for backing up your computer than previous versions of Windows, but sometimes it might take up too much disk space. Here we take a look at how to get some space back by deleting older backups.

Manage Backup Size

First click on Start and enter backup and restore in the search box and hit Enter.

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Then under the Backup section click on Manage Space.

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In the Manage Windows Backup disk space screen click on View Backups under the Data file backup section.

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A list of backups for different time periods will show up. You can delete older ones and just keep the most current backup. This will free up a lot of space if you have several backups periods stored.

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You will get a message making sure you want to delete the backup. If you delete the most recent backup, there is an option to delete it and run the backup again so everything is current.

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Now that we’ve been able to free up some space, let’s take a look at how to keep only the most recent system image stored. Go back to the Manage Windows Backup disk space window we were at previously and this time click on Change settings which is under the System image section.

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Now select Keep only the latest system image and minimize space used by backup then click Ok.

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Conclusion

Backing up your system is extremely important, especially if you have a lot of sensitive data and important files. If you allow Windows to manage space, it will automatically save backup periods but won’t take up more than 30% of space on the backup disk. When it gets to the 30% range it will start deleting older system images. Use these tips if you use Windows Backup and Restore and need more room on the backup disk. First create more space by manually deleting the older backups manually, then have it only save the most recent backups.

Also check out our tutorial on Using Backup and Restore in Windows 7

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/17/09

Comments (5)

  1. Hilbert

    thank you this was very helpful

  2. Vanessa

    Is there a way to simply delete all backups? I’ve been trying but it just won’t, there are still two left in two different partitions (can’t believe I tried to free space in one and ended up with less space in two partitions–yeah, not smart at all). I tried and looked everywhere and even found a menu that showed me the hidden backup files one by one, but no option to erase them.
    I have XP and 7 in the same computer, I tried to delete it from XP but it can’t find the files. I read then in w7 help section that only with an external hd it would be possible (why do they complicate so much? is it really necessary to hide the files from the other system? shouldn’t it be one of the advantages of using two OS in the same machine?)
    I don’t really need to backup much stuff, my personal files are saved in dvds (that is a lot of stuff, but what can one do?), I only wanted to save the systems settings, the installed programs, to save time in case I have to reinstall. But I got some heavy games installed too, guess they are to blame for the huge size this of the backup… any suggestion?

  3. Anrui

    I think my Win7 takes your 30% and raises it to about 75% (and I haven’t changed the backup settings from factory yet.) I have a 1TB hard drive and over 600GB of it is all Windows backups. Time for me to start deleting….

  4. rakesh

    thankx , it is so usefull. but stil i have face some problems , my hard disk show extra (31gb) used memory but in real i am not used

  5. chuck bowers

    My win7 sysytem doesnt seem to work like that. When I search for Backkup and Restore I am taken to the controp panel home, which steers me into a much simpler (and less effective) backup. It does not seem to cover space management.

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