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BE2012 Backup Set Expiration Changes On Media Reconnect

Created: 21 Nov 2012 • Updated: 09 Feb 2013 | 3 comments
This issue has been solved. See solution.

We are running backup jobs on two removable SATA drives - one for the full backups and one for two weeks worth of diffs.  After two weeks, we swap in two new SATA drives, and repeat.  The full backups are set to expire after two weeks, and the the diffs are set to expire after one week.

The problem is, when we swap the original drives back in, the expiration dates for the full backups are extended to two weeks from the date we reconnected the drive, instead of two weeks from when the backup was taken.  Why is this happening, and is there a way to prevent it?  It's not problem for me to manually delete the old backup sets, but I would prefer the process be automated.

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Colin Weaver's picture

It is probably caused by DLM attempting to retire the content of the backup set whilst the SATA drive is disconnected - there is a reg key that can change this behaviour, but using it will mean you have to bring the SATA drive back to read/write when you reconnect it as the reg key will block the behaviour but make the drive read only at the same time.

I am not in office currently so can't look o the details of the reg key, however it relates to a defect for USB disks not overwriting when disconnected which will almost certainly affect SATA drives and NAS drives which go offline as well. (That is is assuming your SATA drives use a standard disk storage device and not a cratridge based removable device in Backup Exec anway.)

Chris.VU.ITS's picture

Thank you for the quick reply Colin.  Switching the drives back to write-mode takes just as long as deleting the old backup sets, so I guess it's six of one, half a dozen of the other.  But if you can find out what registry key that is, I would appreciate it (if only for posterity's sake).

Colin Weaver's picture

Sory did not manage to get back to you yesterday

for info the issue is ackwowledged here:

At this current time we do not have a full solution to the issue, however we do have a choice of workarounds, unfortunately all require manual intervention after re-connection of the USB disk.

Workaround 1:
Run Inventory and Catalog operations against the storage device after the USB/SATA disk is reconnected. This will reset the information equired for DLM to activate.

Workaround 2:


Manually delete the files for the expired catalogs - this might be tricky to identify although you could do it on date of last set shown in BE console, vs date of last BKF and IMG folder listed on the USB/SATA disk itself. Although this will depend on if you have multiple retention periods from different jobs using the same device.

Workaround 3:
1. Change the value of the setting "Limit Backup Exec to read-only operations
on disk-based storage if it has been detached for at least X
days" to less than the RETENTION PERIOD you are using for the backups that use the USB disk. This setting can be found by clicking the Backup Exec button (yellow button top left in the Administration Console), then Configuration and settings --> Backup Exec Settings --> Storage

2. In the Registry location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Symantec\Backup Exec
For Windows\Backup Exec\Server, Set the Dword value called
CheckReclaimSpaceIntervalMinutes = 30 mins or 60 mins (decimal value).

3. Run backups as usual and then detach the disk next day.

Once this has been done, after the number of days specified in the point 1 has passed
the Disk Storage Folder should shows as a READ ONLY set and the catalogs for the backup sets on the disk should not get deleted even though its retention period may have expired.

4. Reintroduce the disk as per schedule AND ensure you are setting the Disk
Storage Folder to be WRITE ENABLED (this is a manual process after re-connecting the USB disk) You should see the sets getting deleted by their own without the need to inventory/catalog.

I am going to try and arrange for this information to be part of the TECH article rather than just a forum entry.