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Remove unused files and directories from cache or [remote storage].



This command can delete (garbage collect) data files or directories that exist in the cache but are no longer needed. With --cloud, it also removes data in remote storage.

To avoid accidentally deleting data, dvc gc doesn't do anything unless one or a combination of scope options are provided (--workspace, --all-branches, --all-tags, --all-commits, --all-experiments). Use these to indicate which cached files are still needed. See the Options section for more details.

The data kept is determined by reading the DVC files in the set of commits of the given scope.

Note that dvc gc tries to fetch missing .dir files from remote storage to local cache in order to determine which files should exist inside cached directories. These files may be missing if the cache was previously garbage collected, in a newly cloned copy of the repo, etc.

Unless the --cloud option is used, any files collected from the cache can be restored using dvc fetch, as long as they have been previously uploaded with dvc push.

Removing data in remote storage

If the --cloud (-c) flag is used, this command deletes unused data from the default remote storage in addition to deleting it from the local DVC cache. To specify a DVC remote to delete from, use the --remote (-r) option.

Cloud deletion is irreversible unless there is another DVC remote or a manual backup with the same data.

Cleaning shared cache (or remote)

If a cache is shared among different projects that track some of the same files, using dvc gc in one project will break those overlapping data links in the other projects.

To prevent this, use the --projects (-p) option. It takes one or more paths to the DVC project(s) whose data should be preserved. Make sure that all the commits and branches that reference files you want to keep have been pulled in those other projects first.

For example, if we have several projects with some overlapping files and we'd like to collect all the data that's only used in one of them (e.g. if we no longer need that projects), we would first clone all the other projects, fetch all their branches, and pass their paths to the dvc gc -p command from the project we want to clear.


  • -w, --workspace - keep only files and directories referenced in the workspace. This option is enabled automatically with the other scope options (below).

  • --rev <commit> - keep cached data referenced in the specified <commit>, as well as in the workspace (implying -w).

  • -n <num>, --num <num> - keep cached data referenced in the last --num commits starting from a --rev <commit> (required), as well as in the workspace (implying -w).

  • -a, --all-branches - keep cached data referenced in all Git branches, as well as in the workspace (implying -w). Useful if branches are used to track different experiments. Note that this can be combined with -T below, for example using the -aT flags.

  • -T, --all-tags - keep cached data referenced in all Git tags, as well as in the workspace (implying -w). Useful if tags are used to mark certain versions of an experiment or project. Note that this can be combined with -a above, for example using the -aT flags.

  • -A, --all-commits - keep cached data referenced in all* Git commits, as well as in the workspace (implying -w). This preserves the cache for all data used in the entire commit history of the project.

    A use case for this option is to safely delete all temporary data dvc run and/or dvc repro cache when used without committing changes (see the -O or -M, and --no-commit options in those commands). In that scenario, data that is never referenced from the workspace or from any Git commit can still be stored in the project's cache).

    * Not including DVC experiments

  • --date <YYYY-MM-DD> - Keep experiments from any commits on of after a certain date. Argument <YYYY-MM-DD> expects a date in the ISO 8601 format.

  • --all-experiments keep cached objects referenced in all DVC experiments, as well as in the workspace (implying -w). This preserves the project's experimental data (including checkpoints). See also dvc exp gc.

  • -p <paths>, --projects <paths> - if a single remote or a single cache is shared among different projects, this option can be used to specify a list of them (each project is a path) to keep data that is currently referenced from them.

  • -c, --cloud - remove files in remote storage in addition to local cache. This option is dangerous. The default remote is used unless a specific one is given with -r.

  • -r <name>, --remote <name> - name of the remote storage to collect unused objects from if -c option is specified (see dvc remote list).

  • -j <number>, --jobs <number> - parallelism level for DVC to access data from remote storage. This only applies when the --cloud option is used, or a --remote is given. The default value is 4 * cpu_count(). Note that the default value can be set using the jobs config option with dvc remote modify. Using more jobs may speed up the operation.

    For now only some phases of garbage collection are parallel.

  • -f, --force - force garbage collection. Skip confirmation prompt.

  • -h, --help - prints the usage/help message, and exit.

  • -q, --quiet - do not write anything to standard output. Exit with 0 if no problems arise, otherwise 1.

  • -v, --verbose - displays detailed tracing information.


Basic example of cleaning up the cache:

$ du -sh .dvc/cache/
7.4G    .dvc/cache/

When you run dvc gc --workspace, DVC removes all objects from cache that are not referenced in the workspace (by collecting hash values from the DVC files):

$ dvc gc --workspace

'.dvc/cache/27e30965256ed4d3e71c2bf0c4caad2e' was removed
'.dvc/cache/2e006be822767e8ba5d73ebad49ef082' was removed
'.dvc/cache/2f412200dc53fb97dcac0353b609d199' was removed
'.dvc/cache/541025db4da02fcab715ca2c2c8f4c19' was removed
'.dvc/cache/62f8c2ba93cfe5a6501136078f0336f9' was removed
'.dvc/cache/7c4521365288d69a03fa22ad3d399f32' was removed
'.dvc/cache/9ff7365a8256766be8c363fac47fc0d4' was removed
'.dvc/cache/a86ca87250ed8e54a9e2e8d6d34c252e' was removed
'.dvc/cache/f64d65d4ccef9ff9d37ea4cf70b18700' was removed

Let's check the size now:

$ du -sh .dvc/cache/
3.1G    .dvc/cache/

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