Windows Server Backup Delete Old Backups Automatically

Posted by @Cody

August 25, 2016

Learn how to configure automatic disk usage management for Windows Server Backup to delete old backups automatically and a more flexible way to delete previous backups without the need to manually delete snapshots.

About Windows Server Backup

As a replacement of Ntbackup backup tool in earlier versions of Windows Server, Windows Server Backup (WSB) was first introduced in Windows Server 2008. It can back up a full server, the system state, and volumes. In Windows Server 2008 R2 or latter versions, Microsoft has added new functionalities. You can include specific files or folders in a backup, you can let Windows Server Backup delete old backups automatically, and you can create faster and smaller incremental backups. Windows Server Backup is available from graphic users interface (GUI) or command line.

Automatic disk usage management of WSB

By default, Windows Server Backup will automatically delete the old backups to free up more space when it detects that there is insufficient space for new backups. Before a backup is in progress, Windows Server Backup will allocated a storage space for creating snapshots. When the next scheduled backup is triggered, it will shrink the space allocated for snapshots, and delete the old backups and the corresponding snapshots.

However, when you cannot get enough space by shrinking the located space for snapshot, the backup will fail with a message saying that target drive is out of disk space, because Windows thinks that you don’t want to lose all the old backups to create a new one. In this case, you need to manually delete old backups from command line. You can use "wbadmin delete systemstatebackup" in command prompt. Windows Server backup does not allow you to delete other kinds of backups, but you can delete the shadow copies as a workaround. Therefore, the Windows Server Backup disk space management isn’t as perfect as it looks. Is there a more reasonable way to automatically delete old backups?

More flexible way to delete old backups automatically

AOMEI Backupper Server is a powerful backup and restore tool for Windows Server. It can be used for backing up system, disks, partitions, files and folders with more flexible options. After a scheduled full/incremental/differential backup is configured, you can enable its Disk Space Management to aromatically delete the previous image backups as you like.

To backup Server with Disk Space Management enabled:

1. Download, install and launch AOMEI Backupper.

2. Under “Backup” tab, select a type of backup. Let’s take System Backup as an example.

System Backup

3. It will automatically include the system partition in the backup. Choose a target location to save the image backup.

Destination Location

4. Click “Schedule Off” to set a schedule for the backup task. You can set the backup to run monthly, weekly, daily, or more frequently or when some special event triggers. Under Advanced tab, you can choose to run full/incremental/differential backups.

Schedule Backup

5. Click the Scheme option to enable Disk Space Management. It provides 5 types of scheme to delete old backups.

Backup Scheme

6. Click Start Backup to add this schedule or run it as once.

Start Backup

As mentioned, Windows Server Backup deletes old backups automatically may fail when it has deleted many backups. With the Disk Space Management of AOMEI Backupper, You can put your mind at easy without worrying about running out of target space. Besides, AOMEI Backupper can also be used to clone hard drive or migrate only OS to SSD.