Delete Files Older Than X Days Using PowerShell

Rohan Timalsina Feb 28, 2022
Delete Files Older Than X Days Using PowerShell

PowerShell supports the handling of different file operations in the system. You can perform various file tasks such as create, copy, move, rename, edit, delete, and view files in PowerShell.

Many files remain unused for a long time in the system. Some files might be no longer required and need to be deleted after certain days.

You will have to delete the files manually, checking the date created from the File Explorer. It may cost you a lot of time when there are many files to be deleted.

Instead, you can use PowerShell commands to automate the file deletion task, saving you a lot of time.

This tutorial will teach you to delete files older than X days using PowerShell.

Use Remove-Item Cmdlet to Delete Files Older Than X Days Using PowerShell

The Remove-Item cmdlet deletes one or more items from the specified location. Multiple providers support it.

You can use this cmdlet to remove different types of items, including files, folders, registry keys, variables, aliases, and functions. It does not return any output.

For example, we have a file C:\New\test.txt.

Get-Item "C:\New\test.txt"


Directory: C:\New

Mode                 LastWriteTime         Length Name                                                                                                                                                      
----                 -------------         ------ ----                                                                                                                                                      
-a----          2/1/2022  11:39 AM             80 test.txt 

Now, we will delete it using Remove-Item.

Remove-Item "C:\New\test.txt"
Get-Item "C:\New\test.txt"


As you can see, the file path is not found because the file is deleted.

Get-Item : Cannot find path 'C:\New\test.txt' because it does not exist.
At line:1 char:1
+ Get-Item C:\New\test.txt
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : ObjectNotFound: (C:\New\test.txt:String) [Get-Item], ItemNotFoundException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : PathNotFound,Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.GetItemCommand

You cannot directly pipe a path to this cmdlet. But, you can pipe a string that contains a path.

Now, let’s see how you can delete files older than X days using Remove-Item.

Here, we have a directory C:\test_folder1, and we will show you how to delete all files older than X days in that directory.

The following command gets all the files in the C:\test_folder1 directory.

Get-ChildItem "C:\test_folder1" -File

The above command output is piped to the command below, which filters the files by the creation time less than X days from the current date.

Where CreationTime -lt (Get-Date).AddDays(-15)

After that, it is piped to the Remove-Item cmdlet to be deleted.

The final code to delete files older than X days should be like this:

Get-ChildItem "C:\test_folder1" | Where CreationTime -lt (Get-Date).AddDays(-15) | Remove-Item

You can also use the LastWriteTime of a file to remove the files having the last write time of X days older.

Get-ChildItem "C:\test_folder1" | Where LastWriteTime -lt (Get-Date).AddDays(-15) | Remove-Item 

If you want to delete all files at the directory, including sub-directories, you have to use the -Recurse parameter.

Get-ChildItem "C:\test_folder1" -Recurse | Where LastWriteTime -lt (Get-Date).AddDays(-15) | Remove-Item

The -Force parameter allows you to delete files like hidden or read-only.

Get-ChildItem "C:\test_folder1" | Where CreationTime -lt (Get-Date).AddDays(-15) | Remove-Item -Force

You can verify the deleted files in the file explorer or from the PowerShell console using the Get-ChildItem cmdlet.

Get-ChildItem "C:\test_folder1" -Recurse


All files older than 15 days are deleted.

    Directory: C:\test_folder1

Mode                 LastWriteTime         Length Name
----                 -------------         ------ ----
d-----         2/23/2022  11:11 PM                New folder
-a----         2/23/2022  10:29 PM              0 books.txt
-a----         2/23/2022  10:29 PM              0 hello.txt

    Directory: C:\test_folder1\New folder

Mode                 LastWriteTime         Length Name
----                 -------------         ------ ----
-a----         2/23/2022  10:26 PM              0 cars.txt

Using PowerShell cmdlets, you can easily find and delete files older than x days in the specified directory.

Rohan Timalsina avatar Rohan Timalsina avatar

Rohan is a learner, problem solver, and web developer. He loves to write and share his understanding.

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