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

13 May 2011   #11

win 7 X64 Ultimate SP1
Partial Delete?

I would not delete any part of an existing incremental backup for fear of borking the whole shmear. If there is some part of it you want to save do just that save it. You can rename the directory where it is residing and start a new backup. At some time down the road if you no longer want the saved backup delete it.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Nov 2012   #12

arch linux x64

im having this same problem, and same questions as the original poster. after studying this post carefully and whats in my backup archive, i came to a few conclusions that hopefully help others, and i hope somebody can step up with some hard evidence so we can solve this.

i want to delete the first few backups in a list of 6 of them as listed in the windows 7 ultimate backup tool in the action center.

i have no guarantee that these are incremental. furthermore, maybe im giving m$ too much credit but one would think that an idiot proof system that clearly says "deleting backups will allow to free up some space. All files during the selected period will eb deleted." means that your safe to delete the oldest backup without losing any files other than what you have already physically deleted from the system since that backup date. This would mean that the backups listed ARE NOT incremental backup parts of a whole, but are essentially separate complete duplicate archives each for a specific era.

This means its safe to delete one of them from what i gather. whats the use of them if not?

More info to corroborate this is the fact that all 6 of the backups listed in my psersonal list on one of my machines are 17.5-20.5GB a piece, taken in 3 month intervals, which means that these are probably full sets incrementally backed each, completed and finalized at the end of each era, then when a new backup is created, the process starts over as mentioned in previous posts. so it appears each backup is a complete backup of the era.

So it appears that when you delete a "backup", you are deleting the entire interval, Each of the rest of the remaining backups, or intervals, are "COMPLETE" backups as well, which means that data that was BOTH touched, and untouched, is still in each of the rest of the remaining backups which themselves are normally primarily duplicates. So if i guess right, i could delete ALL backups except for the very last one and im good.

Logically this would be an idiot proof system, and combined with the fact that i came to this conclusion after a bit of research, i would guess one can delete all backups except for the system image, and last backup each time there's a new interval in the list if more available hard drive space was desired to be freed up.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Nov 2012   #13

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

You need to understand the difference between
1) File/folders backups and
2) System Images

For File/folder backups you mainly backup your personal data which can include standalone exes and installers etc which you may have downloaded for example but NOT the OS system or installed programs.
To manage these you access "Manage space" from the normal Backup & Restore screen. Here you will see at least one but probably more "Backup Sets". The most recent Backup Set will be incrementally added to when you access "Backup Now" until Windows decides to create a brand new complete backup set. The older Backup Sets are essentially closed and generally I don't see the point in keeping them all and delete the old ones. I keep the current one of course but one or two older sets. This tutorial is useful
Backup User and System Files - Delete Backups

Images store difference images in shadow storage when you make multiple images from within the backup schedule. I personally do not recommend Windows difference imaging and make images one at a time using "Create a System Image". I never create images from within the Backup Schedule. I delete or rename image folders as described in
Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup

Edit: I've seen my old post this elaborates a little on it so I will leave it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

06 Nov 2012   #14

arch linux x64

as for me, i dont need to understand system image anymore, i think i might have mispoken. my post wasnt about system images at all. i dont even have one, and i know they are different. i was just talking about backups, and trying to clear up the previous peoples concerns.

you said it nicely when you mentioned "The most recent Backup Set will be incrementally added to"
, it would be helpful if you could state the obvious though, that each backup listed "in Manage Space" is a separate backup, and one doesnt depend on each other. i think this is the main thing viewers are confused about, and or just want to be sure about.

look at the original posters questions, he wanted to if he could delete the older "backups" more properly termed by you as "sets" without losing untouched files. The problem is windows doesnt call them sets, they are called "backup data", and "file backups" for a "period" for lack of a way better terms.

Some users were making it out to be the fact that the sets were dependent on each other, when in fact, they are not, correct everyone?

i would really like to know, because i have one period thats 1.00 TB, and the next period is 1.57 TB, and my array is chalk full. i dont want to delete the 1st period, knowing that the 2nd period isnt complete, because in the event that the hard drive fails, there is new files that havent been backed up yet to the new period. worse yet, if i dont delete it, and backup right away, those files will be lost if the main drive goes out. So im at high risk right now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Nov 2012   #15

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by wolfdogg View Post

you said it nicely when you mentioned "The most recent Backup Set will be incrementally added to"
, it would be helpful if you could state the obvious though, that each backup listed "in Manage Space" is a separate backup, and one doesnt depend on each other. i think this is the main thing viewers are confused about, and or just want to be sure about.
It is difficult to know what confuses a particular individual. I did state that all but the most recent backup set was closed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Nov 2012   #16

arch linux x64

well, now i am wondering if i was correct in my asumptions above. So, i did as any user might. regarding another system not related to above im having another issue.

I have the system set to backup to a 2.7TB array.

one of the backups was 1.0TB, this was incremented to 3 months prior, so lets say (Apr. - Jun.-2012), (im working from memory, the dates are probably not entirely accurate)

the newer increment was say (Jul. - Sep. 2012) (again, from memory)

So the backup reported that the drive was full with this newer increment, which was now 1.5TB.

SO now scrambling for HD space, i deleted the old backup (Apr. - Jun. 2012), which freed up 1 TB of space.

So now i have 1 TB of free space, so i ran the backup again. I was initially thinking it would continue with the previous Increment that spanned from July, i was disheartened to see that it created a new increment, now (11-18-2012).

SO obviously there wouldnt be enough space for this, so i let it (11-18-2012) run until it ran out of space, then i deleted the only other increment remaining on the drive (Jul. - Sep. 2012). now the drive contains enough space so that i can get the new complete backup on the (11-18-2012) increment.

after all was said and done im missing about 10 users on the user drive (D drive), so the 2 users that it did get are the only two active users. so apparently the unused old files it thinks it already has backed up.

SO what did i do? I went into the backup settings again, and altered a couple directories that were checked off to backup, and i verified that all the users in question are checked, infact, the entire D drive is checked to backup.

So i ran the backup again, it appended the (11-18-2012) increment. Then i went to check if it had those other 10 users which the files havent been touched for more than a year, and they are still non existent.

If anybody has any suggestion, please let me know how i can get all my stuff backed up, this is ridiculous.
i dont want to clean off this existing backup until i get another backup atleast started. The current backup is 1.81 TB, and i only have about 750GB of space left.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Nov 2012   #17

arch linux x64

well i was hoping somebody could help me here, since i am risking a lifetime of family pictures.
is there anyone that can help ?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2013   #18

arch linux x64

Ok, i got this thing licked. ill try to keep it as simple as possible, especially since it will probably be me that uses this post next time when i forget and run into these problems again in the future.

if you delete the MediaID.bin files both next to, and inside, the root backup folder a new incremental backup will be started the very next time backup is started.

In the root backup folder, if you see a dated folder with the label "Backup Set" , this is your incremental backup archive data set. Inside that is a dated 'Backup Files' folder that contains the compressed files, which are the increments. If you see another 'Backup Set' on the root this is another isolated data set, and is in no way tied to the other data set.

The idea to free up hard drive space assuming you have more than one Backup Set, is to first check to make sure your not missing any important files on your existing active file system. Next go to the backup program, click on 'restore' files, 'browse files' (this is the latest Backup Set) then make sure your most important files are in there too. Once this is verified, then go ahead and click on 'Manage Space' then delete all but the latest old Backup Sets.

Separately, when your deleting old backup sets, if there is an image in there, don't delete it, unless your sure you don't want the copy of the existing operating system as-it-was during what ever era it may have been made. The image is just a copy that 'may' eliminate the need to re install windows in the event of a catastrophe, but this is no guarantee, ESPECIALLY if your backing up to the same hard drive as your system is on.

Some important notes for a multi user environment.

If you initially run the backup from a user, and insert the UAC password to run it, or are backing up to a mapped network drive, it seems as if the permissions for the backup are only for the user that you run. this is two fold, one the file permissions are set for the user that ran the backup, but all backed files WONT be visible to the user, if permissions arent available to the files being backed up to that user.

If you think all your files from "other users" arent being backed up, be sure that your checking from the admin account when you click on "restore my files", or you will NOT see the other users files no matter how you set the permissions, since its running the backup restore for that particular user only.

When your ready to make another increment, delete the MediaID.bin files, and when you want to check if all files have been backed up for a multi user environment, be sure to run the backup restore from the admin account.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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