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How to Delete Volume Shadow Copies in Windows 11 (All Ways)


The shadow copies (also called Volume Snapshot Service, VSS) generate a snapshot of a certain moment in time that you may use to restore files from previous versions. Shadow copies are made for all volumes except the system volume unless you allow it.

It appears that your computer has accumulated a large number of shadow copies, resulting in higher storage consumption, so you simply want to delete them.

By the end of this article, you’ll be able to delete volume shadow copies in Windows 11:


Step #1: In the Start menu, search “Create a Restore point”, and open the app.

'create a restore point' icon in windows
‘Create a restore point’ Icon

Step #2: In the system protection tab, click the “Configure” button.

configure settings to delete shadow copies in windows
“Configure” Button

Step #3: Click the “Delete” button and select the “Continue” button to delete all shadow copies.

click the delete button to delete all restore points using system properties
“Delete” Button

Step #1: In the Start menu, type “Disk Cleanup” and run it as an administrator.

disk cleanup app icon in windows 11
Disk Cleanup App Icon

Step #2: Select the main drive from the dropdown menu and click the “OK” button.

select the main drive in which restore point is stored in disk cleanup
Primary/Main Drive

Step #3: Select the “More Options” tab from the top bar and click the “Clean up” button in the “System Restore and Shadow Copies” section.

click the cleanup button to delete all shadow copies in windows using disk cleanup
“Clean Up” Button

Note: This method will delete the restore points from your system as well.


Step #1: In the Start menu, search for “Command Prompt” and run it as an administrator.

command prompt icon in windows 11
Command Prompt (CMD) Icon

Step #2: To list all the restore Points in cmd, type the following command and press the enter key to execute it:
vssadmin list shadows.

command to list all restore points and shadow copies in windows
List all restore points in Windows

Step #3: To delete a selected recovery drive, type the following command:
vssadmin delete shadows /Shadow={shadow copy ID}

command to delete restore point and shadow copies in windows
Delete the Selected Restore Point

Note: To delete all restore points at once using the command prompt, type the command: vssadmin delete shadows /all and press the enter key to execute.


Step #1: Run the PowerShell from the Start menu as an administrator.

powershell app icon in windows 11
PowerShell App Icon

Step #2: To delete shadow copies using PowerShell, type the command: shadowcopy delete /nointeractive.


What is the difference between Restore Point and Shadow Copy?

At the time of taking the snapshots, any data that remains untransferred to the disk will be lost. However, when a restore point is used, you’re not generating a new duplicate of the disc in question; instead, you’re instructing Windows to start recording changes to it and to back up the original version so you can go back to it if something goes wrong.


Next Steps

We’ve covered how to delete shadow copies in Windows 11. You can choose any of the methods that you find convenient to follow.

Deleting old shadow copies of your hard disk is an easy way to get more storage space, especially if you are running low on disk space. However, it’s better to back up the deleted snapshots first in case you need them in the future.

Further, configure the computer’s settings to customize it depending on your preferences.


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