Join us in Moodle cleaning!

The storage of our Moodle server is filling up, but a new server is set to arrive in June 24th, 2020. With our course cleaning effort, we ensure that our current server remains operational and any unnecessary bits do not transfer needlessly to Moodle’s new home. Storage space is filled up mainly by courses, course backups, large file attachments and videos.

Course areas

Quickest way to do cleaning is to remove unnecessary course areas. You can inform us about unnecessary course areas at Add to your message the address of the course area, after which we will start the removal process of the course. You can get the address of your course area by going to the course front page and copying the address from your browser’s address bar.

Course backups

We recommend doing backups of your courses and storing these externally from Moodle. For example, at a password protected hard drive: instructions on how to backup. When you have successfully done a backup and saved it externally from Moodle, remove the backup so that it will not unnecessarily take space from Moodle. Instructions on how to remove backups:

  1. Click on the cogwheel (Actions menu) at the course front page.
  2. Click ‘Restore’.
  3. Go trough the ‘Course backup area’ and ‘User private backup area’.
  4. Click the button ‘Manage backup files’ under the backup area where you want to remove a backup file.
  5. Click the name of the backup file.
  6. Make sure that the file can be removed and click ‘Download’ to download the file.
  7. Click ‘Delete’.
  8. Click ‘OK’.
  9. Click ‘Save changes’.

Large file attachments

You can delete large attachments and file folders mainly directly from the front page of your course. Instructions for deleting files and folders:

  1. Make sure the edit mode is on from the course front page gear (Actions menu).
  2. Click ‘Edit’ for the item you want to delete.
  3. Select ‘Delete’.
  4. Click ‘Yes’.

You can also shrink files before importing them into Moodle. This speeds up the user experience and reduces the size of the course. For example, saving presentations in PDF format and reducing the size of large images. An easy way to reduce multiple images at once in Windows is to send the images to yourself using the Windows e-mail feature: right-click the image, select send, and then e-mail. Windows will provide you with different size options appropriate for online use.


Video files should be stored in the University of Helsinki’s own Unitube-Lataamo service ( or in another dedicated cloud environment. Videos from these services can be linked directly to Moodle or other services. Instructions for linking videos to Moodle from Unitube: Publishing Unitube videos on a Moodle course.

Deleting unused course areas

The number of Moodle course areas has grown with the increased interest and educational use of Moodle. Teachers and departments create new course areas for each course implementation separately, i.e. for example for ICT driving license courses autumn 2010 and 2011, which is often the most meaningful way to do. But the results of this are that there are many unused course areas that were created for and used in already past courses. Additionally and as a consequence, many course areas have similar names, and users may get confused in searching the list for the actual one. It is more difficult to find the accurate course areas among the large number of course areas. Therefore it was considered meaningful to hide and even delete old and unused course areas which also shortens teachers’ mymoodle list of course areas. In addition, the process prepares for Moodle 2 migration in summer 2012.

In autumn 2011, the automatic process of gradually deleting unused course areas was started. The idea is that course areas that a) have not had visits for 12 months b) have a start date older than 12 months are investigated on. They are not hidden or deleted automatically, but instead users with teacher privileges on the course area receive email notification on the situation. If the course area includes many teachers, please agree on the course area future need with the teacher responsible for the course. Teachers will receive in total at least three notifications before the course area is deleted. The stages are as follows:

  • Stage 1: if the course area is still open for students, it will be closed
  • Stage 2: the course area is moved to a hidden category and hidden from the MyMoodle page but is still accessible via the course area address
  • Stage 3: the course area is deleted

Teachers receive an email notification two months before each stage. If the course area is still in educational use, the deleting process can be postponed in Stage 1 by editing the Course start date at Administration/Settings and after Stage 2 by asking for the category change from Note that the start date cannot be in future if students should be able to access the course area.

If you are the teacher responsible for the course and want to speed up the process by getting your course areas deleted at once, please contact