Destroy Version Controlled Files

Over time, a version control server acquires a growing number of files and folders. This can cause problems as you try to manage disk space requirements. You might be forced to remove all the team projects and their hierarchies from version control. For example, a team project might be created for learning purposes only, or perhaps some files are contaminated with a virus. Therefore, as a Team Foundation administrator, occasionally you may have to destroy files and folders that are under version control.

The following procedure shows you how to destroy files and folders by using the tf destroy command. Although the files are permanently removed, you can retain the history associated with them. For more information about the options and arguments available for tf destroy, see Destroy Command (Team Foundation Version Control).


This operation is available only from the command-line.

Required Permissions

To use the destroy command, you must be a member of the Team Foundation Administrators security group. For more information, see Permission reference for Team Foundation Server.

Prerequisites for Running tf destroy

Before you run tf destroy without the /keephistory option, we recommend that you first delete the files you want to destroy. For more information, see Delete or restore files and folders. After you delete a file, its file name now includes a deletion ID. For example, if a file name is aFile.cs, after deletion the file name is aFile.cs;x123, where x123 is the deletion ID.

After you delete the files, you can synchronize the Team Foundation warehouse. Otherwise the warehouse will not be synchronized with the destroyed items.

To permanently destroy version-controlled files

  • Click Start, click All Programs, click Microsoft Visual Studio 2008, click Visual Studio Tools, and then click Visual Studio Command Prompt.

    • To preview the file aFile.cs without destroying it, type at the command prompt:

      >tf destroy /preview /i $/MyTeamProject/aFile.cs


      The text in the Command Prompt window displays "Destroyed: $/MyTeamProject/aFile.cs", but the file is not actually destroyed when you use the /preview option.

    • To destroy the file, aFile.cs, type at the command prompt:

      >tf destroy /i $/MyTeamProject/aFile.cs

      This command displays information about possible pending changes and shelvesets in the Command Prompt window. Because you specified /i (non-interactive), you are not prompted with a Yes, No, Yes to all dialog box before the files are permanently removed.

    • To destroy all the files in aFolder and, at the same time, retain their history, type:

      >tf destroy /keephistory $/MyTeamProject/aFolder


      /preview cannot be specified with /keephistory.

      This action retains the historical information about all the files in aFolder. You can use the tf history command to view the history of a file. You can also view the history in Source Control Explorer. For more information, see History command and View Historical Data.

    • Use the /stopat option to retain the historical information up to and including a versionSpec value. The versionSpec value can be the latest version, a specific changeset, or a date. For more information about versionspec values, see Command-Line Syntax.

      To destroy all the files in the team project MyTeamProject and, at the same time, retain the history for the files up to and including 10/23/2005, type:

      >tf destroy $/MyTeamProject /keephistory /stopat:D10/23/2005
    • Use the /startcleanup option to immediately clean up the content that is no longer referenced by Team Foundation Server. Without this option, the destroyed files are removed when the database is maintained by a SQL process that generally runs one time a day.

      To immediately destroy all the files in aFolder, type:

      >tf destroy /startcleanup $/MyTeamProject/aFolder

See Also


Destroy Command (Team Foundation Version Control)

Other Resources

Rename or move files and folders

Use Team Foundation version control commands

Operations Available Only From the Command-Line (Team Foundation Version Control)