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Backups have stopped working to external hard drive

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Beginner
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Good evening;

I have inherited an existing Acronis True Image deployment (we purchased a business where this tool was in place doing regular backups). Acronis is writing these backups to an external drive that is attached to a computer via USB.

The problem

- The hard drive is now full, and Acronis no longer has the available disk space to perform a backup.

Looking at the hard drive I see the pattern of a full backup, then 5 incremental backups, then a full backup (and so on). Additionally, the backup scheme also has Delete version chains older than 7 days selected, but I am not sure if it's doing this?

I am trying to figure out what I can safely delete so I can free up space, and have Acronis start doing it's magic again.

Thank you,

Lucas Cochrane

 

 

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Posts: 207
Comments: 5031

Lucas, it is difficult to decide what you can safely delete without knowing what is the backup, and how frequently and to what extent it changes. If you have no idea what has gone on while the backup has been in place it may be best to bite the bullet and buy a new USB HDD - these days they are relatively inexpensive; you can get 4TB drives for well under US$100. Just checked and 8 TB Seagate USB drives are on Amazon for US$141.99.

You can manually delete backup chains in Windows Explorer, or delete only the incremental backups. You will then need to validate the backup and click ignore when error messages pop up. (It is a long time since I have used ATI 2017 so I cannot remember if you can manually cleanup backups from within ATI 2017 - you can check this by right clicking on the V to the right of the task name and see if on of the options is Cleanup.

You can configure backups with automatic clean-up rules that meet you particular requirements.

As this is being done in a business context, you should make a comprehensive evaluation of backup processes being used. When doing backups it is often more effective to separate backup tasks for the Operating System and for user data - the former tends to change less frequently, so backups can be run with greater intervals. I find it best to have data stored on separate partition if not a separate HDD. You also should consider having an off-site back-up; using 3 USB drives in rotation with one on site at any one time. With ATI 2017 it may be a little difficult to implement rotated backups to USB drives, however more recent versions are much easier to configure. I would delay updating to a newer version as ATI 2021 is currently in beta testing and is likely to be released in mid to late August.

Edit/Update: On rereading your post I see that the backup task has cleanup rules specified. One thing to remember is that the backup drive must be able to store a full backup and its chain of incremental backup, plus the new full backup before the old backup chain can be deleted. As a matter of prudence I would have a longer interval between clean-up. It depends on if you are only interested in getting the system back up and running after an adverse event or are wishing to keep backups as a form of archive. Sometimes you do not realise that a critical file has been deleted to well after the time it was deleted, thus longer retention can be useful. Depends on how critical the data is.

Ian