Version history—arguably one of SharePoint’s best features—has been around since at least SharePoint 2007, though the difference between SharePoint 2007 and 2013 is huge based on the way the different SP editions would save versions of files.
In SP2007, SharePoint made a completely new copy of the file and stored each one, whereas SP2013 simply updates the file and saves the change. If your isn’t at least somewhat like this:
It damn well should be.
So, why does this matter? Welp, if you never had an issue with versioning and space in SP2007, consider yourself extremely lucky.
Imagine you have a 50-megabyte PowerPoint presentation. You add a 5-megabyte photo to a slide. The new version is now 55 megabytes. In SP2007, your file just took up 105 megabytes (the original 50-megabyte file, plus the new 55-megabyte version). In SP2013, it only takes up 55 megabytes (the original 50-megabyte file plus the 5-megabyte change).
Now add another 6-megabyte photo, and the file in SP2007 takes up 166 megabytes in your library (the original 50-megabyte file, plus the second 55-megabyte version, plus the latest 61-megabyte version); in SP2013, it’s just 61 megabytes. The SP2007 system is totally bonkers.
That made a huge difference for organizations concerned about space allocation, cleanliness, response time, and general performance. Back in the old days of SP2007, the only response I as an IT guy could give if you were running low on space was to delete some old versions of files.
Oh, and don’t forget to empty your recycle bin, because the space isn’t actually available till you dump that sucker.
Hey, you shouldn’t have to do that. I totally agree with you. So the upgrade to SharePoint version history was one of the most welcome changes in the life cycle of the platform.