Windows Server Backup Not Deleting Old Backups - Fixed

Find Windows Server Backup not deleting old backups? Do not worry! You can find effective solutions to this problem in this article. You can also find another way to delete old backups automatically in Windows Server systems.


By Lily Updated on April 24, 2024

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Scenario: How do I delete old backups in Windows Server Backup?

“I am doing a Windows Server Backup with Server 2012 R2. At this moment I am having this error: ‘Windows Backup encountered an error when writing data to the backup target. Detailed error: There is not enough space on the disk.’ How can I configure Windows Server Backup to delete the oldest backup so that this issue will not occur?”


Automatic disk usage management in Windows Server Backup

Windows Server Backup (WSB) is the built-in backup and recovery solution for Windows Server environments. It allows users to backup a full server, the system state, storage volumes and specific files or folders. First introduced in Windows Server 2008, WSB has been added new functionalities in Windows Server 2008 R2 and later versions including automatic usage of disk space, smaller and faster incremental backups and so on. For instance, you can create Windows Server Backup incremental to network share via VHD file.

Users benefit a lot from the new functionality of automatic disk usage management. After you configure a scheduled backup, WSB automatically manages the disk usage—you do not need to concern yourself with running out of disk space after repeated backups. However, some users find Windows Server Backup not deleting old backups regardless of automatic disk usage management feature. How it comes?

How comes Windows Server Backup not deleting old backups?

Automatic disk usage management takes effect (i.e. Windows Server Backup deletes backups automatically) when it detects there is insufficient space for new backups. WSB creates space for new backups by shrinking the storage space allocated for snapshots (called diff area). Once the diff area gets shrunk, old snapshots as well as corresponding backup versions get deleted. 

WSB will not shrink the diff area to less than 1/8 of target volume size as Windows doesn’t think we want to lose all past backups just to create a new one. That’s why we discover Windows Server Backup not deleting old backups sometimes, thus causing new backups fail due to Windows Server Backup drive full. How can we solve the problem?

How to resolve Windows Server Backup not deleting old backups efficiently

I’m going to show you how to resolve Windows Server 2012 Backup not deleting old backups in three solutions separately:

Solution 1: Delete old backups manually using wbadmin command

If WSB fails to delete the old backups automatically, you may use wbadmin to delete backups manually. To delete the system state backups, you can run “wbadmin delete systemstatebackup” command. As for non-system state backup deletion, you should use “wbadmin delete backup” in Windows Server 2012 (R2) and Windows Server 2016 or delete the shadow copies where the backup exists as a workaround in Windows Server 2008 R2 and previous versions. 

▶ Steps to delete old system state backups:

  1. Right click on the Start icon and select Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu.
  2. Type wbadmin delete systemstatebackup -keepVersions:3 and press Enter to delete all system state backups, except the three most recent.


✎ Note: 
Other parameters you may use in “wbadmin delete systemstatebackup” command:
-version: delete the specific system state backup.
-deleteOldest: delete the oldest system state backup.
-backupTarget: delete the system state backup stored on specific volume.

  1. Type exit and press Enter to exit Command Prompt.

Solution 2: Delete old backups automatically with a powerful utility

AOMEI Backupper Server is a powerful backup and recovery tool for Windows Server. It is the best alternative to Windows Server Backup which can help you get rid of the “backup disk full” issue.

Say no to data loss
It enables you to do system/disk/partition/file backup with more flexible options.
Save you from repetitive work
It allows you to set the backup task to run at fixed intervals with the Schedule feature.
Save disk space brightly
It can help to manage backup disk space if you enable the Scheme option.
Support Servers and PCs
It supports both Windows Server operating systems (Windows Server 2022/2019/2016 (R2)/2012 (R2)/2011/2008 (R2)/2003, etc) and Windows PC operating systems (Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP).

Wanna have a try? Click the button below to download the 30-day free trial of AOMEI Backupper Server:

Download Free Trial Windows Server & PC
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▶ Steps to schedule a system backup and enable automatic disk space management via AOMEI Backupper:

Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Backupper. Click on “Backup” and select “System Backup”.

System Backup

Step 2. The required system partition(s) is (are) selected by default. Choose the destination path to store the backup files.

Select Destination

Step 3. Click “Schedule Backup” in the left bottom, and then choose “Enable Schedule Backup” to set the frequency of the system backup to run.

Schedule Settings

Step 4. In the Schedule window, click “Backup Scheme” from the left panel.

- Backup Method: you can choose to run full/incremental/differential backups.

- Enable Automatic Backup Cleanup: there are 4 cleanup rules available in total, i.e., “By quantity”, “By time”, “By daily/weekly/monthly”, and “By space”. Learn more about backup scheme

Backup Scheme

Step 5. Confirm the operations and click “Start Backup”.

Start Backup


  • After you have created a system backup of your Windows Server, you can restore your computer to its previous state through the Restore function of this software. You can also right-click your backup file on the Home page and restore it.
  • In order to prevent your computer from not starting properly due to unexpected situations such as a system crash, you can create a recovery environment on your computer in advance, and then you can perform system backup restore or other backups restore operations in AOMEI Backupper Recovery Environment.

Tools Recovery Environment

Solution 3. Delete old backup automatically with enterprise backup solution

If you are an enterprise user, AOMEI Cyber Backup is more suitable for you to backup and recover data. It offers a centralized backup way to protect all critical data in various places, like Windows Servers, Windows PCs, virtual machines, and SQL databases. It backs up data in an automatic way. AOMEI Cyber Backup support not only auto-runs backup in the background but also automatically removes old backup versions.

Click the download button below, you can have a 30-day free trial, and we will guide you on how to use this tool.

Download Free TrialThe easiest enterprise backup solution
Secure Download

Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Cyber Backup. And log in. The default username and password are both "admin". 

Step 2. Click "Source Device" on the left pane. To backup a Windows Server, choose "Windows" > "Add Windows Device". Input the Server IP address, username, and password to add it.

add windows device

Step 3. Choose a backup type according to your needs. If you want to backup all Windows Server data, you can choose "Disk Backup". Then give a task name, choose device, backup content, and target and other settings.

disk backup

Step 4. Enable the "Backup Cleanup". Then set a backup retention based on your need. Click "OK".

backup cleanup


When you find Windows Server Backup not deleting old backups automatically, you can either use wbadmin command to delete backups manually or do system backup with AOMEI Backupper or AOMEI Cyber Backup.

AOMEI Backupper makes you never worry about using up disk space after long-term backups. What’s more, it offers the clone feature to help you with Samsung Data Migration multiple partitions clone.

To protect unlimited PCs and servers within your company, AOMEI Backupper Technician Plus is available. You will be surprised to find that it enables you to create portable version so that you don't need to install it on different computers again and again. Go for AOMEI Backupper right now!

Lily · Editor
Lily Green joined AOMEI in 2018 and has since become a professional in the areas of data protection and data transfer. She is committed to helping users protect their precious computer data and troubleshoot Windows system errors. She consistently stays vigilant about the latest trends in technology, guaranteeing that the given information aligned with the ongoing advancements in the field.