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Managing Disk Space with SOLIDWORKS PDM Part #2: Deleted vs Destroyed and the Vault Cleaner Service

Tuesday August 24, 2021 at 11:00am
In this blog series we are examining the factors influencing disk usage within PDM and what you can do to manage them. In the first part we discussed how you can re-organise your Archive across multiple drives to get you back up and running quickly should you find you are short on space. This blog and the next part will discuss behaviours in PDM that can result in redundant disk usage and how you can free that up.

As a PDM Administrator it is important to create and execute a maintenance plan for your vault that includes a review of deleted items. When a user deletes a file in PDM this sets a flag against that file within the database that excludes it from the users explorer window. The associated file in the archive however will remain, until that file is destroyed. This is very similar to normal Windows explorer where deleted files enter the recycle bin on your desktop and if you don't remember to empty that every now and again, you quickly start to run out of disk space.

Did you know that if you hold shift when you hit delete that the behaviour is different and the file is fully deleted straight away? That is why you don’t get a warning with a ‘standard’ Delete, but you do with Shift+Delete. This is known as 'destroying' rather than deleting.

The same happens in PDM to a degree, apart from the fact that a warning that is also displayed when performing a standard delete.

Figure 1: Delete

Figure 2: Shift + Delete

You may find however that the workflow rules set up in your organisation do not, by default, allow for all files / file states to be destroyed by a ‘Standard’ User. Your administrator will typically need to do this for you.

You can access the list of deleted files by right cicking over the vault view icon (or in the white space within the vault view itself) and selecting properties.

One of the tabs you will then see is titled Deleted Items, where you will see a list of files deleted within that folder, who deleted them, the size of the file and the location. This last option is most useful when running this from the root of the vault and also enabling the option to Include items in sub-folders

Review the list and based on your own retention policy (you can sort by date), select the files you want to remove, right click and choose Destroy. Then assuming you have the required permissions the files will be flagged for removal from the vault by the vault cleaner service later that evening.


The removal of destroyed and orphaned files from the vault is something that happens automatically once a day. It is possible to override this default schedule and define your own requirements. The default behaviour is for the service to run at 03:00 every night.

Making a change to the schedule for the cleaner service requires a modification to the computer registry on the archive server. On the archive server launch the Registry Editor tool and add the following (string) registry value to the archive server key for your vault (i.e. replace VAULTNAME at the end of the string with your vault's name)


In the example the value entered will ensure that the service will run at 8pm, Monday to Friday.

As you can see, the schedule is made up of three sections: Minute Hour Weekday

  • Minute: You can use 0 - 59 (where 0 is on the hour)
  • Hour: You can use 0 - 23 (where 0 is midnight)
  • Day: You can use 1 - 7 (where 1 is Monday)

The sections can contain a single number (1), a range (1-7) or a list of numbers (0,15,30,45). Separate each section with a space. You may use an asterisk (*) as a wildcard for an entire number range and the / is also a special character.

Some examples of a schedule string:

  • 0 0 * - Run every day at midnight
  • 0 2 1-5 - Run every Monday to Friday at 2:00 a.m.
  • 0 * * - Run every hour on the hour, every day.
  • 0 */2 * - Run every other hour, every day.

Replacing the schedule with off will disable the cleaner fully.

Note: After creating or changing the schedule you will need to restart the Archive Server Service for those changes to take place.

Blog Series Contents

  • Part #1 : Distributing the Archive
  • Part #2 : Deleted vs Destroyed and the Vault Cleaner Service
  • Part #3 : Web2.0 Temporary Session Files
  • Part #4 : Cold Storage
  • Part #5 : Archive Compression

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