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Windows 7: (windows Backup) deleting old backup states simple question

08 May 2011   #1
Frozenthunder

Windows 7 64bit
 
 
(windows Backup) deleting old backup states simple question

I got a simple question, let me explain it like an example: Let's say I backup 100GB of data with Windows Backup and over the time where I do all my backups there is like only 30GB of data which changed from those 100GB and also new files were added. Now my external drive is full. When I now delete the very early backup, the first one where the 100GB of data was saved, will it delete then ALL those 100 GB, or will it just delete the previous versions of the files which were modified AFTER that time, which are in this case the 30GB I talked about? Because otherwhise I would then have in the end an uncomplete, messed up backup.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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08 May 2011   #2
Johnathan Lyman

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

"because otherwhise I would then have in the end an uncomplete, messed up backup."

Correct. Windows by default does what is called "incremental backups". It takes a master image of the entire system per your direction, then on the schedule, it takes an inventory of only what has changed and backs up those changes. That is with a DATA BACKUP.

If you do SYSTEM IMAGE, it gives you two options you can set, from which are accessible from Manage Space > System Image/Change Settings:



You should have similar space management controls for your data backups as well. Since I only do a system image every week as my data is on a different drive than the OS, I do not.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 May 2011   #3
Frozenthunder

Windows 7 64bit
 
 

I don't do complete system image since this won't work because my HDD is umm how should I say... Halfway broken.. Some production error I guess. 10 bad sectors and also the HDD fails at Dells utility HDD test. It can't do a backup of the Recoverypartition and I can't set it to only do a backup of my main partition. I only backup 2 Folders, users and Programdata. I will do an image with macrium reflect of my main partition.
Also I didn't completely understand now.... So if I delete the earliest savestate then the data which never has been changed since that state won't be deleted, even though it was only backed up in this state? So just the previous versions which existed until that moment where I took that backup will get deleted?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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08 May 2011   #4
Johnathan Lyman

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

If your drive is "broken" you should either send it back or get a new one.

Let me clarify how incremental backups work in a series of steps:

1. Windows gathers all of the files and folders into an inventory of sorts and prepares to make the first complete back up.
2. Once the backup is complete, it waits until the next scheduled time.
3. Upon entering the next scheduled backup time, it checks again for any NEW and or CHANGED files only by comparing them to the originals it already has.
4. The new and or changed files are marked for back up as a new incremental backup.
5. A backup of just these files take place as a separate backup.

Because they build off of each other, removing one may corrupt Windows' ability to navigate any of them. It is designed to allow for speedier backups because you are not backing up the entire system all at once every time you back up. It also allows for what is called "versioning". While not technically a word, it allows the user or system administrator to keep multiple versions of a file backed up. If you make changes to a file and cannot undo them, you can jump back to a previous version or the version before that, if applicable.

If you need to remove some older incremental backups, you can browse to the settings I showed you and remove them. You can also tell Windows how many increments to keep before starting a fresh copy.

Does it makes sense now?

Let me know if you have more questions!

Thanks!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 May 2011   #5
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Windows makes two types of backups
1) Images of complete partitions. These are large .vhd files stored in the root directory of a partition and called [WindowsImageBackup]. When you make a new one it overwrites the old one.
2) File/folder backups of personal media type data. This does not include OS or installed programs. Basically the same sort of stuff you could drag & drop.
These are stored as multiple .zip files (hidden away from view). When you browse your backups you will see one or more backup sets the latest backup set gets added to incrementally until Windows decides it needs to start a fresh backup set.
You can delete old backup sets to save space but if they contain data which you may have subsequently deleted, that data will be deleted as well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2011   #6
Frozenthunder

Windows 7 64bit
 
 

I know how incremental backups work... That wasn't my question. I read through the whole ms help and it already explained all that. But well, thanks for the answers. No offense but I think some of you guys think way too complicated I just had a simple question (So if I delete the earliest savestate then the data which never has been changed since that state won't be deleted, even though it was only backed up in this state?).

And yes I will get a new drive ASAP. I'm lucky, have 1 month of warranty left for my notebook. The HDD also fails at dell utility HDD test so yes I think I'll get a new one
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2011   #7
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Unfortunately sometimes things are a little "complicated". My answer was my best attempt at understanding what you were actually asking.
Your response is a little offensive given that we are only trying to help you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 May 2011   #8
Frozenthunder

Windows 7 64bit
 
 

Okay sorry for the offense. Well my question was: So if I delete the earliest savestate then the data which never has been changed since that state won't be deleted, even though it was only backed up in this state? Is a simple yes or no question. I may answer other peoples questions in this section as redemption (don't know if this is the right word) when I find some time but unfortunatly got a bunch of schoolwork for the next weeks
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12 May 2011   #9
larrymcg

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

I'll attempt an answer, hoping not to lead anyone astray!
If you delete the earliest "savestate" (with the 100GB of data in your example), the 100GB of backup copies (which are on your external hard drive) are gone. As long as you haven't deleted the actual files themselves (on your internal hard drive), the actual files still exist on the internal drive. Just the backup copies are gone.

I also wonder about the remaining 30GB of backups of new/changed files. Are they accessible and restoreable after the 100GB set is deleted?

--Larry
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 May 2011   #10
larrymcg

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Well, maybe I am leading folks astray!

Backup&Restore lets you delete a backup set (which has a base level backup plus incrementals). It doesn't provide a way to delete just the base level backup. So in the OP's example, if there is only one backup set containing the original 100GBs and the 30GBs of new/modified files, then the B&R option is to delete the entire 130GBs.

From time to time B&R will start another backup set with a base level backup (containing all current files). It will then start adding incrementas to the backup set.

So I think I'm confused about how the OP was going to delete the base level (100GB) backup without also deleting the 30GBs of incrementals.

--Larry
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