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Windows Server 2008 Backup fails when space is exhausted

    Question

  • I have read through the responses to this problem in other threads but none of them seem to address the fundemental issue: Windows Server 2008 R2 does not know how to manage the space on the hard drive being used to store backups.

    We should not have to go into an obscure (barely documented) utility to remove shadow copies. When the space gets low, the system should either delete old backups or send a message to the operator to inform him/her that there is an issue.

    It might be acceptable to manage old backups as you can in Windows 7, where one can remove old backups using the GUI in the Backup/Recovery program.

    As it is, when the space is exhausted on the backup drive, the backup fails. While I was able to use DiskShadow to delete old shadow copies (repeatedly) but this did not solve the problem. DiskShadow gives you the option of deleteing the oldest shadows but does not say how much space was released (if any). The backups still failed after having done a Diskshadow delete shadows all.

    Microsoft can do better than this--especially for server-class products.

    Do you really want to force your customers to go to other third-party tools?


    __________________________________________________________________
    William Vaughn
    Author, Mentor, Trainer, MVP
    Beta V Corporation
    William Vaughn's blog

    “Hitchhiker’s Guide to Visual Studio and SQL Server (7th Edition)”

    “The Owl Wrangler” a fantasy fiction novel

    Please click the Mark as Answer button if a post solves your problem!

    Thursday, February 23, 2012 7:52 PM

All replies

  •  

    Hi,

    Automatic Disk usage management feature comes into play when Windows Server Backup detects that the backup target does not have enough space to accommodate the backup while backup is in progress. The way Windows Server Backup creates space for new backup is by shrinking the storage space allocated for snapshots (called diff area). As a result, one or more older snapshots (and hence backup versions corresponding to those snapshots) occupying the diff area that got shrunk get deleted. Before shrinking diff area, WSB determines whether shrinking the diff area can free up the requisite space so the backup can happen. If enough free space can get created, WSB goes ahead with the shrinking and continues with the backup.  WSB will not shrink the diff area to less than 1/8 of Target volume size as we do not want to lose all past backups just to accommodate this one. This is why sometimes backup fail with target out of disk space in spite of automatic disk usage management feature in Windows Server Backup.

     

    For more details, please refer to:

    Windows Server Backup automatic disk usage management

    http://blogs.technet.com/b/filecab/archive/2011/03/14/windows-server-backup-automatic-disk-usage-management.aspx

    Backup Version and Space Management in Windows Server Backup

    http://blogs.technet.com/b/filecab/archive/2009/06/22/backup-version-and-space-management-in-windows-server-backup.aspx


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    Friday, February 24, 2012 5:37 AM
    Moderator
  • It's unacceptable that there are no tools to manage the old backups. The command line tools don't work and the documentation (and here in the forums that echos the docs) is out of date and barely suitable. Why is this supported in the consumer versions of Windows like Windows 7 but not in the (far more expensive) business versions?

    It's just sad that Microsoft wants to be a company that supports IT but has created a server product that needs a rocket scientist to manage. For a small business (like me) it's essential that the server take care of itself so that when the hardware fails (as it always does), I have a reasonable, reliable fallback plan. Windows Backup does not fall into that category.


    __________________________________________________________________
    William Vaughn
    Author, Mentor, Trainer, MVP
    Beta V Corporation
    William Vaughn's blog

    “Hitchhiker’s Guide to Visual Studio and SQL Server (7th Edition)”

    “The Owl Wrangler” a fantasy fiction novel

    Please click the Mark as Answer button if a post solves your problem!

    Friday, February 24, 2012 6:19 PM
  •  

    Hi,

    Please use diskshadow tool to delete previous shadow copies. Details are explained in following blog

    http://blogs.technet.com/b/filecab/archive/2009/06/22/backup-version-and-space-management-in-windows-server-backup.aspx

    by the way, there is a similar thread, please refer to:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowsbackup/thread/62488e7a-4638-430c-950c-e75ac42b0fa3/


    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread.

    Monday, February 27, 2012 2:26 AM
    Moderator
  • One of the ongoing problems with the forums is that there is so much misinformation out there. The links you provide do permit one to delete old system state backups but in the same post, command-line operations to delete old backups (snapshots) do not. The thread ends without a resolution.

    Providing help in the form of long-winded conversations between people with problems and people that either know or pretend to know the answer is not a great way to support any product. Pasting in old answers that worked in the past is no help.

    It's also not helpful to mark a question as answered when it's not.

    There is still no way IN THE GUI backup application to manage backups. There is still no definitive site where the CORRECT way to manage them with a command line tool (which don't seem to work.


    __________________________________________________________________
    William Vaughn
    Author, Mentor, Trainer, MVP
    Beta V Corporation
    William Vaughn's blog

    “Hitchhiker’s Guide to Visual Studio and SQL Server (7th Edition)”

    “The Owl Wrangler” a fantasy fiction novel

    Please click the Mark as Answer button if a post solves your problem!

    Monday, February 27, 2012 5:36 PM
  •  

    Hi,

    First of all, I should apologize to you, however, you may try to use VShadow tool, VShadow is a command-line tool that you can use to create and manage volume shadow copies.

    VShadow Tool and Sample

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/bb530725(v=vs.85).aspx#deleting_shadow_copies


    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread.

    Tuesday, February 28, 2012 9:43 AM
    Moderator
  • any updates?

    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread.

    Friday, March 02, 2012 6:19 AM
    Moderator
  • The "Answer" to this question is that there is no way IN THE GUI to manage backups. In order to do so, one must deciper the highly granular options (all, one or nothing) of the command-line tools. I'm switching to a real application to manage my backups. You're free to mark THIS as the answer.

    __________________________________________________________________
    William Vaughn
    Author, Mentor, Trainer, MVP
    Beta V Corporation
    William Vaughn's blog

    “Hitchhiker’s Guide to Visual Studio and SQL Server (7th Edition)”

    “The Owl Wrangler” a fantasy fiction novel

    Please click the Mark as Answer button if a post solves your problem!

    • Proposed as answer by Aspasa Monday, December 24, 2012 1:54 AM
    Friday, March 02, 2012 5:27 PM
  • I'm switching to a real application to manage my backups.

    __________________________________________________________________
    William Vaughn

    This....

    "If I'd asked my customers what they wanted, they'd have said a faster horse." ~ Henry Ford

    Monday, December 24, 2012 1:56 AM
  • Yup. Same here. I've just stopped using Windows Backup. Switching to another third party app like Acronis or even DriveImage XML. You want people to use your tools & then make them difficult to use. And you wonder why your market share is slipping.

    *slow clap for Microsoft*


    Friday, April 19, 2013 3:31 PM