My problem is that something uses large amounts of space on my main partition (100 GB out of 250 GB). I looked for everything and by now I suspect the Windows File History to be the one taking up the space. (see below for steps I did to find the space user). Now when I go to Control Panel and click on File History nothing(!) happens. My system is a Windows 8.1 Pro N, 64 bit

I did/checked the following:

  • Several reboots
  • File History service and Windows Search service is running (also restarted both)
  • The external drive where the File History is stored is connected and working properl (I also tried to disconnect it)
  • In the Action Center it says: File History and Status not available
  • System file check (SFC) with sfc /scannow found no problems.
  • DISM found no problems (Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth gives: No component store corruption detected. The operation completed successfully.
  • chkdsk found no errors
  • I also noticed that the "show previous versions" option has disappeared from the context menu

So, how can I access (or disable) File History?

While searching what might be eating my SSD space I tried the following:

  • Trash is empty
  • Drive properties dialog shows 225 GB space used
  • When using WinDirStat only 122 GB are used (and >100 GB are shown as "Unknown")
  • When selecting all file (including hidden and system folders) the properties dialog shows: `Size on disk: 122 GB"
  • when I do a chkdsk it shows: 234992384 KB in 691370 files. (which is about 225 GB as above)
  • I checked for NTFS alternate file streams, but only found a few and all of them where very small and in total waaaaay below 100 GB
  • I used the Build-in disk clean up feature (also in admin mode)
  • Also cleand all recovery points (I also did not have any big changes to the system in the last few months) with vssadmin Delete Shadows /For=C: /Oldest
  • There are no pending updates for my system (except optional ones)
  • How to clear 217Gb of <Unknown> space on my C drive? suggest to have a look at C:\Windows\CSC. I did (as described in Where are my offline files if they are not in C:/windows/CSC? ), but this folder contains only a few files with a total of less then 1 MB
  • system files like hyber.sys and swapfile.sys are correctly accounted in the 122 GB used space.
  • By now I found out that the space-consumption problem was unrelated to file history. It was the search index that (for some reason) had grown to over 100 GB. A re-index solved it. The file history problem is still there. – masgo Mar 1 '16 at 11:57
  • 1
    just to note: File History does not use shadow copies, nor able to backup open files. But it works faster, has much less impact on system performance, and does not require administrator rights to set up and operate. Settings stored in %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\FileHistory. It also saves backups there if configured destination is inaccessible. – LogicDaemon Jan 13 '17 at 9:01

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