Deletes the update sequence number (USN) change journal on a volume, or waits for notification of change journal deletion.

DeviceIoControl( (HANDLE) hDevice,              // handle to volume
                 FSCTL_DELETE_USN_JOURNAL,      // dwIoControlCode
                 (LPVOID) lpInBuffer,           // input buffer
                 (DWORD) nInBufferSize,         // size of input buffer
                 NULL,                          // lpOutBuffer
                 0,                             // nOutBufferSize
                 (LPDWORD) lpBytesReturned,     // number of bytes returned
                 (LPOVERLAPPED) lpOverlapped ); // OVERLAPPED structure


To perform this operation, call the DeviceIoControl function using the following parameters.


A handle to the local volume from which the change journal is to be deleted.

To retrieve a volume handle, call the CreateFile function.


The control code for the operation.

Use FSCTL_DELETE_USN_JOURNAL for this operation.


A pointer to the input buffer, a DELETE_USN_JOURNAL_DATA structure.


The size of the input buffer, in bytes.


Not used with this operation; set to NULL.


Not used with this operation; set to zero.


A pointer to a variable that receives the size of the data that is stored in the output buffer, in bytes.

If lpOverlapped is NULL, lpBytesReturned cannot be NULL. Even when an operation does not return output data and lpOutBuffer is NULL, DeviceIoControl uses lpBytesReturned. After such an operation, the value of lpBytesReturned is meaningless.

If lpOverlapped is not NULL, lpBytesReturned can be NULL. If this parameter is not NULL and the operation returns data, lpBytesReturned is meaningless until the overlapped operation is complete. To retrieve the number of bytes returned, call GetOverlappedResult. If hDevice is associated with an I/O completion port, you can retrieve the number of bytes returned by calling GetQueuedCompletionStatus.


A pointer to an OVERLAPPED structure.

If hDevice is opened without specifying FILE_FLAG_OVERLAPPED, lpOverlapped is ignored.

If hDevice is opened with the FILE_FLAG_OVERLAPPED flag, the operation is performed as an overlapped (asynchronous) operation. In this case, lpOverlapped must point to a valid OVERLAPPED structure that contains a handle to an event object. Otherwise, the function fails in unpredictable ways.

For overlapped operations, DeviceIoControl returns immediately, and the event object is signaled when the operation is complete. Otherwise, the function does not return until the operation is complete or an error occurs.

Return value

If the operation completes successfully, DeviceIoControl returns a nonzero value.

If the operation fails or is pending, DeviceIoControl returns zero. To get extended error information, call GetLastError.

The possible return values include the following.

Return codeDescription

The specified volume does not support change journals.

Where supported, change journals can also be deleted.


One or more parameters is invalid.

For example, DeviceIoControl returns this error code if the handle supplied is not a volume handle.


An attempt is made to read from, create, delete, or modify the journal while a journal deletion is in process, or an attempt is made to write a USN record while a journal deletion is in process.



For the implications of overlapped I/O on this operation, see the Remarks section of the DeviceIoControl topic.

You can use FSCTL_DELETE_USN_JOURNAL to delete a change journal. The NTFS file system starts a deletion operation and returns immediately to the calling process, unless the USN_DELETE_FLAG_NOTIFY flag is set in the DeleteFlags member of DELETE_USN_JOURNAL_DATA.

If the USN_DELETE_FLAG_NOTIFY and USN_DELETE_FLAG_DELETE flags are both set, a call to FSCTL_DELETE_USN_JOURNAL begins the deletion process. Then the call either blocks the calling thread and waits for the deletion (on a synchronous or non-overlapped call), or sets up event notification by using an I/O completion port or other mechanism, and returns (on an asynchronous or overlapped call).

You can also use FSCTL_DELETE_USN_JOURNAL to receive notification that a change journal deletion is complete, by setting only USN_DELETE_FLAG_NOTIFY. If you do so, the FSCTL_DELETE_USN_JOURNAL operation either waits until the deletion completes before returning (on a synchronous or non-overlapped call), or sets up event notification by using an I/O completion port or other mechanism (on an asynchronous or overlapped call).

The deletion on which an application receives notification may have been initiated by the current process, or some other process. For example, when an application is started, it can use FSCTL_DELETE_USN_JOURNAL to determine if a deletion started by some other process is in progress and if it is, exit.

Complete deletion of a change journal requires a scan of the volume where the change journal resides, which may take a long time on a volume with many files. The operation continues to completion even across system restarts. Attempts to create, modify, delete, or query the change journal while deletion is in progress fail and return the error code ERROR_JOURNAL_DELETE_IN_PROGRESS.

The FSCTL_DELETE_USN_JOURNAL operation has a significant performance cost, so it should be used sparingly. An administrator should delete a journal when the current USN value approaches that of the maximum possible USN value.

For more information, see Creating, Modifying, and Deleting a Change Journal.

To retrieve a handle to a volume, call CreateFile with the lpFileName parameter set to a string in the following form:


In the preceding string, X is the letter identifying the drive on which the volume appears. The volume must be NTFS.

In Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, this code is supported by the following technologies.


Server Message Block (SMB) 3.0 protocol


SMB 3.0 Transparent Failover (TFO)


SMB 3.0 with Scale-out File Shares (SO)


Cluster Shared Volume File System (CsvFS)




Minimum supported client

Windows XP [desktop apps only]

Minimum supported server

Windows Server 2003 [desktop apps only]


WinIoCtl.h (include Windows.h)

See also

Change Journals
Volume Management Control Codes