Clean up a backup directory

From time to time you should delete obsolete files from your backup (or any other directory). Personal Backup offers the Cleanup function to perform this task automatically depending on file types and/or file age. Make sure that all files you plan to delete no longer exist in the source directory, otherwise they will be copied again during the next backup.
In addition, it is possible to delete files manually using any file manager of your choice.

Modus Settings Synchronize Types Filter Age Start clenup Load and save task Cleanup using scheduled tasks Security copies Mail Log file Cleanup

Select the directory to be cleaned up

The directory from which you wish to delete files may be located on a local storage medium, on a Windows network drive or on a directory on an FTP server. Subdirectories are included automatically. By default, all files including any compressed (.gz) and encrypted (.enc) files will be deleted.


Cleanup mode


File or directory filters

Using these filters will include or exclude filenames or directories matching certain conditions. The same rules are used as described for backup file filters (Standard file filter or Regular expressions). Clicking the Filter button will open a dialog to edit the list of filters to be applied:

File filter Directory filter

File or directory age

You can specify whether you want to delete only files or directories older or newer than a given fixed or relative date.


Type selection

The cleanup may be confined to selected types of files (filename extensions). You can select whether only the selected types or all but the selected types will be deleted. Clicking the Extensions button will open a dialog to edit the list of filters for file extensions. Extensions are specified without wildcards and dot.

Examine compressed single files

If the backup was made into single compressed files, enable this option to remove the additional extensions .gz/gze or zip in the file selection list (default setting: enabled).



This option is only available when deleting files. You can synchronize the backup directory with a source directory. All files not present at the source will be deleted from the backup directory. Additional restrictions can be made by means of selections concerning file types and age as described above. Possible settings are:


Security copies

Security copies

If security copies were created during backup these files can be handled separately:

To facilitate this setting, you can click the very left button at the bottom to import the settings from the corresponding backup task. In both cases, you can select whether to handle only security copies from backup, from synchronization or both:


Special option when deleting security copies

Check this option in case you wish permanently to delete security copies (files and directories) created during a backup when this dates back beyond a certain time (e.g. 6 months previously). To do this, on creating the security copies it is necessary to insert the placeholder for the backup date at the end of the suffixes for files and/or directories. This date is being simultaneously the creation date of the security copies. During cleanup this date will be checked and, if older than the given date, the affected files and/or directories will be deleted. All other security copies and of course all normal files will be retained.
Entries for the directory prefixes are not required in this case, only filename suffixes must be specified in the settings (see above). Bear in mind that you must insert exactly the same value as has been used for backup. In addition you can select on which type of security copy (previous versions or on synchronization deleted versions) the deletion will be applied.



Retain empty directories - If this option is selected, empty directories remaining after deleting the selected files are not deleted, so that the complete directory structure is preserved. Otherwise, all empty subdirectories and, if also empty, the root directory (see also the following option) are also deleted.

Retain empty root directories - If the previous option is not selected, this can be used to specify that after deleting the selected files and subdirectories, an empty root directory will be retained.

Deleted files to recycle bin - files will not be irrecoverably deleted but moved to the Windows recycle bin so that you can recover them if needed. This function is not available with a network drive or FTP directory. Please note, that it is not possible to delete files with long path lengths (more than 260 characters) with this option.

Mail delivery after cleanup

As with backups, a mail with status information and optionally a log file can be sent after performing a cleanup task. The settings are the same as for backups.

Log settings

Clicking the Log settings button will open a dialog to adjust the log settings for the cleanup task.
Click then Show log button to view the current log.

Load and save cleanup tasks

Clicking the Save task or Save task as button will save a configured cleanup task with all settings to disk. To load and reuse such a saved task, click the Open task button.

A saved cleanup task can also be started from the command line. It is therefore possible to use the Windows Task Scheduler function, for example, to remove old files from your backup periodically.

Automatic Cleanup using Windows Task Scheduler

You can configure a Windows scheduled task to carry out an automatic Cleanup by clicking the Scheduled tasks button. The configuration procedure is the same as described for backups.

Start cleanup

Clicking the button will start the cleanup. Before deleting any files, the program will create and display a list of all files that match the filter conditions. If the selection is incorrect, you can cancel the cleanup at this point and adjust your settings. It is also possible to select or deselect individual files or directories by tagging the checkboxes.

A right-click on a file opens a menu for further control. The selections required for an external file viewer and a file comparison program can be made by clicking the Porgrams button:


J. Rathlev, 24222 Schwentinental, Germany, September 2022