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Windows 7: Why doesn't Windows Backup Overwrite Previous Backups?

19 Jun 2016   #1

Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Why doesn't Windows Backup Overwrite Previous Backups?

Why doesn't Windows Backup Overwrite Previous Backups?
I have a 1 TB external backup hard drive.
The hard drive in my laptop has a 320 GB internal hard drive.
Rather than overwriting previous backups,
Windows Backup keeps stacking backups, one in front of the other.
Now Windows Backup is telling me there isn't enough room on the 1 TB hard drive to run a backup.
When I do a Backup all I want is to have a clone or a mirror image of what is on the 320 GB internal hard drive.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jun 2016   #2

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64 +Linux_VMs +Chromium_VM

I don't use Windows Backup, i use Macrium Reflect.
Maybe this tutorial will help you:
Backup User and System Files - Delete Backups
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jun 2016   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

It's apparently designed that way.

As far as I know, you'd have to manually delete earlier backups.

That may be easy or difficult, I have no idea. Windows Backup isn't very flexible or easy to use.

There are other products that would simply create one file with each new backup and you could easily delete old backups just like any other file. Some even allow you to automatically delete older backups according to your personal settings.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

22 Jun 2016   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

To be of any use, a backup must preserve older copies, it completely makes sense to do it that way. At the very least you should preserve 2 backup copies of your data, a few more being better to have a reasonable backup against data corruption.

The "mirror" copies only protect against hardware failures. Having a few copies back in time helps protect against data corruption/deletion/virus attack and the like.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jun 2016   #5

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

If you want to use Windows inbuilt system imaging I recommend you make them manually using the create system image button. If you want a new system image rename the old one to say WindowsImageBackup_xxx. Then manually delete your old images as you choose fit. The final image you choose to restore needs to be renamed WindowsImageBackup. You can have these system images in different partitions.

But simpler and better use free or paid Macrium Reflect.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jun 2016   #6
Layback Bear

Windows 10 Pro. 64/ version 1709 Windows 7 Pro/64

Title of thread.
Why doesn't Windows Backup Overwrite Previous Backups?
Windows 7 has no way of knowing how many backup you care to save.
For that reason it keeps all of them until the you indicate differently by removing the backups no longer desired.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jun 2016   #7

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jorb View Post
When I do a Backup all I want is to have a clone or a mirror image of what is on the 320 GB internal hard drive.
I just reread this thread. Windows performs 2 types of backup. It can create system images and a separate file/folder backup. My previous comments relates to system images. If you make another image over the top of an existing [WindowsImageBackup] it will store a difference image in shadow storage.
File/folder backups are stored away as multiple zip files in "backup sets". From time to time Windows will create a new additional backup set using additional backup disk space. For these you need to manually prune the backup sets.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jun 2016   #8

Windows 10 Pro x64

So then format the drive before you create the image.

It only deletes older images when your image drive runs out of room. Or at least that`s what it tells you it will do.

You are also confusing the terms backup and image.

I`m sure you know what you mean, but a backup is a backup of your data, an image is a picture of your entire C partition.

You should be using Macrium Reflect AND Windows imaging to create images.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jun 2016   #9

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64 +Linux_VMs +Chromium_VM

The tutorial i linked in Post #2 explains how to manage backups.
Here is a snip from the tutorial.

Why doesn't Windows Backup Overwrite Previous Backups?-winbackupspace.png

Source: Backup User and System Files - Delete Backups

My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jun 2016   #10

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

I used to make windows inbuilt system images and Macrium Reflect system images. Now I only make Macrium images.
I am quite familiar with Windows inbuilt system images. When using these I strongly recommend that you disable making a system image in any automatic backup schedule. Instead use the "Create a system image" in the backup and restore screen. You will produce an image folder [WindowsImageBackup]. This can renamed to say WindowsImageBackup_date and the next brand new image will be created as WindowsImageBackup. You now have 2 independent images. You can only have one WindowsImageBackup in root of a partition. To restore WindowsImageBackup_date you need to rename it to WindowsImageBackup.

You can have as many images as you want. eg WindowsImageBackup_date1, WindowsImageBackup_date2....etc. Just make single images. You can move images into folders within a partition since this doesn't involve a physical move of the image files. You need to move them back into the root of the partition and rename them WindowsImageBackup.

When you want to delete an image you simply (shift) delete it.

I have performed these operations many times without a problem. However, it's clunky and the inbuilt system imaging has limited capabilities. So I eventually ditched it and just use Macrium Reflect.

If you want to stick with Windows inbuilt then you should read the tutorials:
Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup
System Image Recovery
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Why doesn't Windows Backup Overwrite Previous Backups?

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