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No easy way of removing backup sets in BE2014

Created: 01 Jul 2014 • Updated: 02 Jul 2014 | 49 comments


Upgraded from Be2012 to Be2014, and absolutely hate there is no way of manually deleting backup sets.

The backup strategy is backup to disk (1 week retention) and immedietly duplicate to tape (4 week retention). The problem I seem to have, is that the expired disk based backup chain thinks the duplicated non expired tape chain is a dependancy, and will not remove itself during the storage grooming process. So the HDD storage is filling up with expired backup chains, that can't be deleted.

I would easily remove them manually if I could, but the that functionality has been removed.

I will try recreating all the jobs, but its a huge nuisance. Has anyone had the same problem?

Operating Systems:

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VJware's picture

From the Backup & Restore tab and then choosing particular server or from the Storage tab, choose the option "Backup Sets" from the left pane.

Right-click a single or multiple backup sets and you would have the option "Expire" which would expire backup sets immediately.

Tauqeer's picture

I do this. and no result.
how long expired backup sets will be remove?

i do:

"To manually delete a backup set in 2014, go to Backup Exec button > Configuration and Settings > Backup Exec Settings > Storage and enable the,'Allow Backup Exec to delete all expired backup sets,' option. Then proceed to Expire (delete) the selected backup sets."

PrisonerZero's picture


Let me rephrase this.

There is a chain of backups (Full + incrementals) on HDD based storage, which were all replicated to tape. So the HDD ones have all expired already, but the duplicates on tape have not expired, as they have a different retention.

If I right click on the Full backup on the HDD & "Show Dependant Backup Sets" it lists all the expired ones on disk BUT it also lists all the ones on tape as dependants. Because there are dependants, it will not get deleted, and there is no way to manually choose & delete.

The only thing to do is to expire the tape backup sets.


Colin Weaver's picture

Please log a formal support case for this so that we can investigate more thoroughly

PrisonerZero's picture

I had a talk to a Symantec support engineer while on a different case, and he suggested Hotfix 218257.

Hasn't fixed the issue as of yet.

PrisonerZero's picture

Ive raised a case, and they suggested Hotifx 217591. Unfortunetly this did not fix this problem either. HDD is filling up fast with expired backups which do not go away.

PrisonerZero's picture

I have just gotten off the phone to Symantec Support. He could not help me with this, and informed me

  • The program was designed this way, that backup chains duplicated to tape, still need the original full disk backup.
  • To delete backup set files manually through explorer.

Its not an option to go hunting around for expired backup sets, I don't have the time and its not something I should have to do.

This makes the program fundumentally broken.

ArtyVark's picture

So were they saying to delete using explorer then do an inventory to update BE 2014 ?

Also where did you get Hotfix 217591 from ?

ArtyVark's picture

Dont want to hijack this thread but I have a similiar problem. I have just upgraded from Backup Exec 2010 to 2014 and I have a number of backups that have expired but are not being re-used/removed like previous. 

There is no delete button either. It seems to have been replaced by an Expired button but this does do anything as the sets are already expired. I just want to delete them.

The other thing I dont like is with 2010 you could actually see the backups that had expired being re-used but on 2014 you dont seem to see this.


jerrys79's picture

I was just about to upgrade my main site to BE2014 when I came across this thread.  I have upgraded 3 other sites that only use tape backups and have had great success and really love the product.  My main site has the same backup strategy as yours with the exception that our retention time on tape is 3 weeks instead of 4.  I thought DLM was supposed to take care of expired sets automatically.  It makes no sense if backup chains duplicated to tape still need the original full disk backup.  I'm hoping this issue is just a setting change and not an actual problem.

PrisonerZero, can you keep this forum up to date with any progress you might make with Symantec?  I'm sure others will find it helpful.  I sure hope there is a resolution.

Thank you.

PrisonerZero's picture

I will indeed. I agree, its a great product in all other features and certainly an improvement on BE2012. Unfortunetly the Duplicate To Tape functionality is broken.

Its not a setting problem, Symantec checked all that. Its just a bug.Incidentally if I select the Duplicated Full Backup on tape, it only lists the tape incrementals as dependants.Selecting the HDD based Full set, it will list both HDD & tape incrementals as dependants.

The Symantec support rep I spoke to was sympathetic, but couldn't help me. He said it was designed that way to maximise data life, but this is an enterprise product, and taking away functionality (The ability to manually delete a backup set through the interface) to "protect" the data is a step in the wrong direction.

I have written a post for the feedback / features forum, but it hasn't been published yet.

In the mean time, I might have to spend the time hunting for and deleting backup sets manually and then re-cataloging. This is not something I should have to do.

CraigV's picture

...have you guys checked the Known Issues section to see if this is listed here?

And I have also flagged this so hopefully someone more senior in Symantec picks up on this!


Alternative ways to access Backup Exec Technical Support:

PrisonerZero's picture

Ive checked, but couldnt find anything.

Thanks for flagging this.

VJware's picture

Hiya PrisonerZero,

Would you pls PM me the case number ?


ArtyVark's picture

Mine has been fixed. Sort of. Their Tech support connected to the server and made sure these two hotfixes were installed.



We then setup a small hourly backup and expires after an hour and left it running. It does remove the expired backup sets but its still a bit strange.


in the above picture the four expired backup sets were removed eventually. You would think it should remove them next time it backups up. It looks like they are not going to be removed but they did disappear.


as you can see the ones from 09/07 have been removed.

I was also told that the expired ones that are not being removed prior to the upgrade I have to do it manually.

All for the sake of Backup Exec 2014 not having a "Delete" button anymore !

jerrys79's picture

That's mostly good news ArtyVark.  Hope I hear the same from PrisonerZero though he previously mentioned he had those hotfixes installed.

I know you mentioned you think it should remove the expired ones the next time it backs up but I found in the admin guide that it actually works like this:

DLM searches for expired backup sets to delete from disk-based storage at the following times:

  • Every 4 hours.
  • When the low disk space threshold for disk-based storage is reached.
  • When you manually expire a backup set.

Hope that helps explain it a little better.

The question I have now is how do you manually delete the "old" 2010 expired sets if DLM won't delete them?  If you just go into Windows Explorer and delete the backup files, the Backup Exec database will still have references to them.  In the past, I would purge them within Backup Exec, which deletes them from the database, and then remove the files manually from the disk.  That doesn't appear possible anymore without a delete button.  Any ideas?

I will be doing our main site upgrade on Monday after this weekends full backup run so want to prepare as best as I can.


ArtyVark's picture

I think that might be whats happened to me. The expired backup sets dont actually exist on the disk storage (ie the nas) which is why I think they are still showing. BE cant delete them as the files dont exist. I thought the inventory/catalog option would have sorted it out but it doesnt. So there is no way I can get rid of them.

jerrys79's picture

So you think it would have cleaned it had the files still existed?  I thought the upgrade to 2014 made the old 2010 backup to disk folders "legacy" and read only.  I'm not sure what that means and if I need to setup all new backup to disk folders after the upgrade.  I don't have the disk space to run "legacy" and new folders in parallel even for a short time.  I asked a symantec backup "specialist" who was clueless.  I have been reading the admin guide but even in the legacy section it doesn't talk about how to clean them up.  I'm going into this part of it blindly but perhaps i'm putting too much thought into this whole thing and wouldn't have put any thought into it had I not stumbled on to this thread.  I guess I'll open a case if I do run across any issues and hope for the best.

Also, BE support can't help you clean up the database?  Just doesn't seem right that you have no way to get rid of them.

jerrys79's picture

Are you able to maybe associate your media with a retired media set and then delete from there?

PrisonerZero's picture

As Jerrys79 said, my understanding is the DLM searches for expired backup sets to delete from disk-based storage at the following times:

  • Every 4 hours.
  • When the low disk space threshold for disk-based storage is reached.
  • When you manually expire a backup set.

However, backup sets will NOT be deleted by DLM if there are unexpired dependants EG:

  • Expired full backup, but unexpired incrementals / differentials

However that is only if the "Allow Backup Exec to delete all expired backup sets" is ticked. What actually happens if this is unticked?

So in my case, the entire disk based chain (full + incrementals) is expired, but since it mistakenly thinks a duplicate on tape is a dependant, so DLM will never actually remove it, until the tape copy expires.

As a test, I have expired a "dependant" tape duplicate, and instantly DLM removes the expired disk backup sets.

Symantec, PLEASE bring back a delete now option!!!

pkh's picture

By design, DLM will not delete the last recovery point even if it has expired.  This means that there will always be a backup set left for each server.  If checked, the "Allow Backup Exec to delete all expired backup sets" option will allow DLM to delete this last recovery point after it expires, but it means that you may potentially be left with no means to recover that server.  If unchecked, the last recovery will not be deleted.

This option has nothing to do with your problem.

Frank_'s picture

I have a simmilar issue. The dependancy list of a disk based set shows all the tape duplicates as well. This can not be mentioned. Our tapes has 8 weeks retention. Does this mean that alle the duplicates on tape will be at least 8 weeks on disk?

I only want the latest set on disk.

DaveyMG's picture

I spent an hour on the phone with Symantec support on this issue this morning. The Expire option will cause an expired set to be removed from storage providing there are no dependent sets. I have the same issue as mentioned above that Tape sets are shown as being dependent on Disk sets and so BE will not expire the disk set. I don't know why a tech would say this is by design as it makes no sense at all. I've been through applying the hotfixes, catalog re-index and database rebuild/compact with no result. My case has been sent along to Advanced Support but I now have to wait 24-48 hours for the next response. I've already had to throw another disk volume into the B2D pool to keep things going, hopefully it will last until I can get this resolved. If not I'll just have to expire all the tapes sets so I can clean all this up.

Frank_'s picture

DaveyMG and PrisonerZero,

I am very curious of the outcome. Please update your experience with the advanced support team.

DaveyMG's picture

Had 30 minute session with Advanced Support tech who confirmed the problem, took some screenshots and diagnostic dumps and said he would escalate to the product team.

At one point it looked as though some backup sets that did not have tape sets dependent on them were actually deleting after being expired as they disappeared from the list. But a little later I looked at this again and found that because we had the backup set view sorted on the expiration column, after expiring the backup set it just relocated the set to the end of the list of expired sets. BE must be sorting all the backup sets whose status is "Expired" by the actual expiry date for the set (although that date isn't displayed in the column, it just says "Expired").

DaveyMG's picture

Received another support call, they have taken a copy of the BE database to use to reproduce the problem.

PrisonerZero's picture

Ive just had a copy of my Database and audit logs taken by Symantec.

Frank_'s picture

We are 2 weeks futher now, does anyone has a solution already?

Christopher Hughes's picture

We reported this issue during the beta and opened a case regarding it on June 5th.  We provided all sorts of information to Symantec and haven't had any success in resolving the issue.  The case number is Case # 06709170.  We have ended up having to remove our disk backup location from backup exec, deleting it, and recreating it in order to recover the disk space and remove the backup sets and catalogs from Backup Exec.

DaveyMG's picture

That's not very encouraging - neither is my last communication from Symantec support which was to say that the issue is with product engineering and next customer contact will be 18th August!

jerrys79's picture

Are there any new updates on this issue?  With 34 comments in this forum discussion, an update from Symantec would be nice.  Thanks.

PrisonerZero's picture

Yesterdays update from Symantec

"Engineering team is still researching on this issue"

It must be serious if they are spending weeks trying to fix it.

PrisonerZero's picture

Anyone got an update? Ive got backups failing left, right & centre due to lack of disk space!

Under my case the, last update is now "Product Requires fix".

Generally, the lack of manual Force Delete of backups sets seems to be a step backwards. I have a expired backup set which stubbornly will not delete itself.

DaveyMG's picture

After 6 weeks my case status is "Awaiting Hotfix" which doesn't indicate whether they've identified the cause of the problem and are creating the fix, or whether they're still trying to determine what is wrong.

Meanwhile my B2D storage is slowly filling up. Even recently created backups sets are shown as expired but are not being groomed.

MiKeDaDoC-AC's picture

The "will-not-expire-bug" of "duplicate-to-tape-sets" should be fixed in SP1, now available:

Laurie_Downey's picture

I am currently looking into this and will get back to the post with what I find out.

Laurie Downey-Eggleston

Backup Exec

Advanced Tech Support

Symantec Corporation


Frank_'s picture

please take a look at comments of another post regarding this bug. SP1 does not not seem to help.

VJware's picture

Hiya Frank_

SP1 will resolve certain specific DLM issues. In our ongoing investigations, we have found various causes depending upon the environment and setup. I would recommend to log a formal support case so that we can review the logs and find out exactly what the cause in your setup is.

Max Orlandini's picture

Hi VJware,

same problem. I've 4 backup sets which are not deletable, even after SP1 install.

Other solution? suggestions?



warnox's picture

The manual deletion is required because you cannot granularly control which expired backup sets are deleted. For some servers you might be required to keep the last backup, while for others this might not be a requirement.

Ticking 'Allow Backup Exec to delete all expired backup sets' makes a global change, which was available in 2012 with a registry change (I believe). This is very much for a 'all or nothing' scenario, therefore we need the 'delete' button back.

Laurie_Downey's picture

Try referring to the following thread from Sept 24th, with the information below:

"After reaching out to some internal resources I have been advised that the issue discussed in this forum thread is possibly related to the following tech document:

I say “possibly related” because detailed logs would need to be gathered for a precise determination on a per case basis. I would advise opening up a support case and referring to E-Track # 3527967 to confirm this information for your environment. 

Symantec has identified the issue as stated in the tech document above and we are looking into resolving the issue with the next service pack, planned for release in Q4, 2014."

Laurie Downey-Eggleston

Backup Exec

Advanced Tech Support

Symantec Corporation


Frank_'s picture

Hi Laurie,

Do you mean Service pack 1 with hotfix 225092 or do you mean perhaps Service pack 2? Can you be more specific on the planned date?

Colin Weaver's picture

Checking internally, TECH218049 relates to fixes planned for Backup Exec 2014 SP2. We cannot be specific on the date, although the beta has already taken place

lmosla's picture

Hi Frank,

To get the most current updates on this issue your best bet would be to subscribe to the TECH218049 that Laurie Downey referred to.  As Colin explains the fixes in regard to TECH218049 are to be encompassed in the release of Backup Exec 2014 SP2.

isomat's picture

Hi Everyone,

For what it is worth, I just installed Service Pack 1 on my Backup Exec 2014 server installation and I was able to select all the expired backup that I want to delete by right-clicking and selecting "Expire". They were all deleted. Also my environment is Windows 2012R2. That should not make any difference but just in case it does.