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Backup set/backup files

TGS

New Member
#1
I run a weekly backup using the Vista "back up files and folders" option. On my external HDD I have a folder called "Backup Set YYYY-MM-DD" which contains many individual folders called "Backup files YYYY-MM-DD xxxxxx". I am just about at capacity on my external HDD so I am wanting to delete all but the most recent backup data but I have had a quick search through this forum and it seems it may not be as straight forward as I hoped. Can someone please explain the best way to do this?

Thanks!
Tammy
 

My Computer

O

On Request

#2
What I do about removing old backups: when my external hard drive gets
full, I delete the entire backup set and begin again by doing a new,
complete backup, and then doing my weekly automatic backups from that new
point. My external drive is 160GB and I can get 3-5 months of backups
before I have to begin again.
Works out ok for me.

"TGS" <guest@xxxxxx-email.com> wrote in message
news:c70fc54da7edd15745a8b8e5118d5e89@xxxxxx-gateway.com...

>
> I run a weekly backup using the Vista "back up files and folders"
> option. On my external HDD I have a folder called "Backup Set
> YYYY-MM-DD" which contains many individual folders called "Backup files
> YYYY-MM-DD xxxxxx". I am just about at capacity on my external HDD so I
> am wanting to delete all but the most recent backup data but I have had
> a quick search through this forum and it seems it may not be as straight
> forward as I hoped. Can someone please explain the best way to do this?
>
> Thanks!
> Tammy
>
>
> --
> TGS
 

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TGS

New Member
#3
Thanks. That's exactly what I did once before without problem, but some seem to think it's a bad idea to delete an existing backup before doing a new one. I can't see any other way around it, short of having another external HDD.
 

My Computer

#4
Sorry - but I'm confused with the backup structure. "On Request" suggests deleting the existing backup set and creating a new backup set. It would be just my luck, that my PC would crash while I'm "unprotected". Secondly, if the current backup set is too large for the backup drive, why would a new backup set be any smaller? :confused:

I suppose the answer lies in the incremental backup files that are within the backup set folders. Are these less efficient in storing our updates? So, when we start a new backup set the first backup will be "cleaner" and take up less space? (Jeff Richards linked to this thread through VistaTips and suggested running a new backup set before removing the current)

I spoke with HP help - I thought I could remove the earlier backup files within the backup set and save just the latest. They said that would work, but now I'm not sure. I think the incremental backup files folders are necessary.

By the way, what's the catalogs folder?


A complete backup (one that I could recover from) includes the backup set and all incremental backup files plus the catalogs - right?

Or - do we have our initial folder of files corresponding to the backup set date and the incremental files just backup what's different from the initial set date files?

I'm confused - and because of my confusion, I'm concerned. Can someone explain this further?

John Z
 

My Computer

J

Jeff Richards

#5
When you first ran the File and Folder backup all files and folders were
backed up into the folder identified with that date and time. Subsequent
backups were incremental. You should be able to examine these folders and
confirm that the first folder created (the full backup) is much larger than
the folders where the incremental backups are stored.

A backup set consists of the original full backup folder and the subsequent
incremental backups, and is therefore much larger than the full backup
folder on its own. Incremental backups do not make any changes to existing
backups, so the total size of the set grows over time.

You can estimate how much space a new full backup will take by looking at
the size of the original full backup and allowing for any proportionate
increase in the size of your data since that backup was taken. Many users
report that a backup file is about 50% of the size of the data, but that
depends heavily on the types of files you are backing up.

If you do a new full backup while there is still room for it on the backup
disk, you will have two backup sets - the original full backup plus all its
incrementals, and the newest full backup. The original full backup plus all
its incrementals would restore you to the date of the last incremental (or,
in fact, to the date of any of the incrementals) while the newest full
backup would restore you to the date of that backup.

Once the new full backup is confirmed OK you can decide what to do with the
older backup. For instance, you could decide to archive the original full
backup, which would give you a backup as of the date it was originally done,
or you could archive that original full backup plus as many of the
subsequent incrementals as needed to bring you forward to some later date.
You can _not_ create a complete backup set from the original full backup and
the latest incremental - such a set would be usable, and it would include
all files from the original complete backup, but it would only have those
changes that occurred between the second-last and last incremental backups.

To create a new full backup, go to Backup and Restore Center and then click
the "Change Settings" link under the "Back up files" button. Then click the
"Change backup settings" option and go through the wizard again. On the last
page there is the option to create a new full backup.

The catalog contains information about where each file is located within the
various backup folders and files. It is really useful if you want to
restore a particular file or folder. It also contains additional
information about the files that is not included in the backup folders, but
it is not essential to restoring data from the backup set. For instance, if
you restored by manually copying files or folders out of the backup folders
then the original permissions information would be lost and default
permissions would be created. Note that if you delete some of the
incremental backups, the catalog will be inconsistent - you can still use
it, but it will assume that the deleted files still exist.

If it's not possible to find more space for your backup files or to archive
the existing backups, then it won't be possible to keep your most recent
backup on disk before starting a new backup. One option would be to
estimate the space required for a new full backup, then archive to CD or DVD
selected incremental backups (most recent to least recent) until there is
enough space on your backup disk. This means you will still have a backup
available when you are creating the new backup, although it won't be the
most recent. If there was a problem, you could copy back the latest
incrementals to bring that original backup set up to date.
--
Jeff Richards
MS MVP (Windows - Shell/User)
"rellez" <guest@xxxxxx-email.com> wrote in message
news:85f8cbbbb5cf8c8d92b035cde809b785@xxxxxx-gateway.com...

>
> Sorry - but I'm confused with the backup structure. "On Request"
> suggests deleting the existing backup set and creating a new backup set.
> It would be just my luck, that my PC would crash while I'm
> "unprotected". Secondly, if the current backup set is too large for the
> backup drive, _why_would_a_new_backup_set_be_any_smaller_? :confused:
>
> I suppose the answer lies in the -incremental backup files- that are
> within the -backup set- folders. Are these less efficient in storing our
> updates? So, when we start a new -backup set- the first backup will be
> "cleaner" and take up less space? (Jeff Richards linked to this thread
> through VistaTips and suggested running a new -backup set- before
> removing the current)
>
> I spoke with HP help - I thought I could remove the earlier -backup
> files- within the -backup set- and save just the latest. They said that
> would work, but now I'm not sure. I think the incremental -backup files-
> folders are necessary.
>
> By the way, what's the -catalogs- folder?
>
>
> A complete backup (one that I could recover from) includes the -backup
> set- and all incremental -backup files- plus the -catalogs -- right?
>
> Or - do we have our initial folder of files corresponding to the
> -backup set- date and the -incremental files- just backup what's
> different from the initial set date files?
>
> I'm confused - and because of my confusion, I'm concerned. Can someone
> explain this further?
>
> John Z
>
>
> --
> rellez
 

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#6
Thank you - admittedly, I had to read it over a couple of times, but now I understand it.

Take note, HP help suggested I could eliminate earlier incremental backup files saving only the most recent - I think that was bad advice. In fairness, I may have not explained myself very well.

John Z
 

My Computer

TGS

New Member
#7
Well, the good news is I deleted my old back-up set and created a new one with no dramas. I guess you would have to be very unlucky to have the computer crash in between these two events... Thanks to all who replied.
 

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