Windows Server Backup – Manually Delete Snapshots

NB: Scroll down to the bottom for a possible long-term solution to this problem

Windows Server Backup (WSB) was introduced with Server 2008, replacing the functionality of NTBackup in earlier versions of windows.  WSB uses automatic space and version management, so in theory there should be no need to manually clear old backups to make space for the new ones.  Of course the difference between theory and practice is that in theory there is no difference; in practice there is…

You may one day notice that your WSB backups fail with error code 2155348010 (hex 0x8078002A) “One of the backup files could not be created”.  If you check the backup target disk you find there is little free space.  You can format the disk (losing all backups on it), buy a larger disk, or try deleting snapshots from the disk using Diskshadow.exe.

I usually assign a drive letter to the backup disk using the Disk Management MMC snap-in – this just makes it easier by referring to the target disk by drive letter (eg Q:\) rather than the volume GUID (eg \\?\Volume{47ba2efc-2db1-11e0-88f8-806e6f6e6963}\).  Then run the command ‘diskshadow > delete shadows oldest Q:’ and check space on the disk.  Rinse and repeat as necessary.  That’s it.delete.shadowsRef: Microsoft Storage Team Blog – Windows Server Backup automatic disk usage management

Ref: Blog of an IT Admin

Possible long-term solution

Mark Berry over at MCB Systems has come up with an alternative solution to this that appears to eliminate the need to manually delete old snapshots on a regular basis.

  • This is best done at around the point when the drive has filled up, as this will give you an idea how much shadow copy space is required on the drive.
  • Assign a letter to the backup drive in Disk Management
  • Right-click the drive in Windows Explorer and select “Manage Shadow Copies”
  • Change the maximum size for the Shadow Copies such that around 10% or 15% of the drive is free. Alternatively, find the size of the full backup image files, subtract that from the size of the volume, and assign around 75% of the remaining space for shadow copies. This should ensure that old shadows are deleted  regularly and leave enough space for future backups

As Mark says, this doesn’t appear to be recommended anywhere on Microsoft’s site so use with caution and check your backups regularly.

1 Comment

  1. I has also deleted the old windows server backup copies and i have drafted them on this link you can give a try to this

    And this has all screenshots how you can follow the steps to delete them …

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