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Windows Server Backups - How to delete older versions

Posted on 2014-08-11
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Last Modified: 2014-08-23
Hello,
A client of mine has Windows 2008 R2 Standard. They use Windows Server Backups as their backup software. It is backing up to a NAS via UNC. There doesn't seem to be a simple way to delete an old backup or set retention on them.  I already looked here. http://blogs.technet.com/b/filecab/archive/2009/06/22/backup-version-and-space-management-in-windows-server-backup.aspx. I did delete shadows set but the hard drive space did not lessen at all. The backup says there are 286 copies. How do I delete these copies? I attached a screenshot of the WIndows Backup Server console.
backup.JPG
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Question by:eshiram
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by:Ben Hart
ID: 40254421
What do you have checked under Configure Performance Settings?  I have a Windows backup job on my Exchange server, pointed to a UNC as well.  My performance option was set to Fastest which is Incremental IIRC.  My jobs been running since this time last year and it's only created 4 backup copies.

Maybe recreating the job might change things?

What file structure do you see under the destination/WindowsImageBackup folder?
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by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 40254573
Unless you are doing something on the back end to copy the backups, you won't have more than one backup at that location. Backing up to UNC is always an overwrite process and multiple copies are not kept. This is different than how backups are made to local or removable storage.

As far as the number you are seeing in the console, Windows knows it has made 286 backups to that location. It does *not* know if you have been copying those backups on the back end, and limitations to the SMB protocol won't let it. So it is simply a number to let you know how many backups you may potentially be able to restore from. It is not representative of how many backups actually exist at that location. This behavior is also true with local storage and removable storage. The number will never go down, even if WSB deletes old backups from a removable drive. It doesn't know if you made a copy  of the drive for a grandfather/father/son type of backup rotation, so it only tells you how many backups have been made.
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by:noxcho
ID: 40255036
Actually what this console says is the event from Windows Server Backup events.
You need to check if the drive itself got more room after you deleted the backups.
Have a look here: http://www.mcbsys.com/techblog/2012/11/delete-old-windows-server-backups/
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by:Ben Hart
ID: 40255445
I'd be particularly interested if what you say is true Cliff.  Each of my Windows Backups is successful, but my number never increases above 4 copies.

Not to be thread hijacking but if mines doing something out of the ordinary, then possibly his is too.
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Author Comment

by:eshiram
ID: 40267858
This is so confusing. I deleted backup files from two locations. I then went into "Backup Schedule" to modify the job. It only lets me modify one job. How can I modify the other job. Both jobs completed successfully though. Can Windows Server Backup have more than one backup job?

I just stopped the backup schedule.  Now it says a backup has not been configured for this computer. Which is weird because there is a second set of backup files in a completely different location then the backup set up in Windows Server Backup. I guess I will skip a backup for a night and see what happens.
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by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 40267953
You can only configure one backup schedule through the GUI. You can use the command line to schedule multiple different schedules, but you run the risk of VSS collisions and monitoring issues so I don't recommend it. If you need advanced scheduling, buy a backup product. WSB is a bare-bones solution that, while it is *very* good at what it does, it *only* does that one thing well. It isn't meant to be a replacement for more full-featured products. Like Windows Defender compared to 3rd-party antivirus products, Microsoft is specifically choosing not to compete with their partners in this space at this time.

If you stopped the schedule then the GUI is absolutely correct that a backup has *not* been configured. It is telling you a backup won't run (Which you stopped the schedule, so it won't!) It is not saying that backups didn't or don't exist. It is simply saying that the scheduled task for the GUI either does not exist or has been stopped. I'm not sure why you find that confusing since you say you stopped it, but if you have more questions, just ask.
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by:noxcho
ID: 40267971
If you want to keep more than one backup and get automatic retention of old images then have a look on this tool: http://www.paragon-software.com/small-business/hdm-business/
It is not expensive but very easy to use. It has an addon - Retention Wizard which will you let select type of backups and number of them you want to keep.
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Accepted Solution

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eshiram earned 0 total points
ID: 40268558
I finally found it, the backup jobs were created using Task Scheduler to run scripts. They are full jobs that delete the previous full job. I just removed one of the backup jobs.
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Author Closing Comment

by:eshiram
ID: 40280309
I finally found it, the backup jobs were created using Task Scheduler to run scripts. They are full jobs that delete the previous full job. I just removed one of the backup jobs.
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