1-800-691-1991 | 9am - 8pm ET

How to configure Veeam Backup & Replication for rotated media

KB ID: 1154
Product: Veeam Backup & Replication
Version: 8.x or later
Published: 2011-10-06
Last Modified: 2021-03-25
Languages: IT | FR


To fulfill the 3-2-1 rule’s requirement for an offsite backup, a repository has been pointed to removable storage media (such as USB hard drives or RDX disks). The action of swapping to a new medium causes Veeam Backup & Replication jobs to fail because the job cannot find a file.


By default, Veeam Backup & Replication assumes that if recent files are missing, the job should fail. This way, the job provides a notification that something is wrong instead of taking any action.


For an introduction to Veeam Backup & Replication’s options for rotated media, consult the user guide. The following notes assume the option for rotated media is enabled in the repository advanced settings.

Retention Options on Windows-type Repositories

There are three options:

  1. Default backup job behavior;
  2. Default backup copy job behavior;
  3. Deleting files when disks are rotated.

Backup jobs will always create active full backups immediately after disks are rotated. This option requires that each storage medium has sufficient disk space for at least two full backup files.

With backup copy jobs, when a new disk is detected, the job will only create a full backup if there are no valid backups on the disk for that job. If an existing backup set is detected, the backup copy job will create an incremental backup file that contains the difference between the current restore point and the most recent previous restore point on that disk. As a result, if disks are re-used frequently, the incremental backup files will be similar in size to increments on non-rotated media; if a disk contains very old restore points, the first new incremental backup copy may be almost as large as a full backup.

With both job types, Veeam Backup & Replication tracks restore points stored on all disks that have been used with the job. If outdated restore points are stored on the current disk, they are only deleted at the end of the current job session.

For example, consider a job that creates two restore points per day, with disks swapped once per day, a total of three disks, and retention policy set to 6 restore points.

  • A forward incremental backup job creates a full backup file and an increment on each of the three disks over the first three days. On the fourth day, the first disk is re-used. A new full backup file is created. There are now 7 points across all disks, so retention policy is met, but the initial full backup cannot be deleted because an incremental file is dependent on it. After another restore point is created, the older two files on disk 1 are deleted by retention policy.
  • A backup copy job also creates a full backup file and an incremental file on each of the three disks over the first three days. On the fourth day, the first disk is re-used. A new incremental backup file is created, and the oldest incremental file is merged into the full backup file.

If a disk does not contain enough space for a new backup file, the job will fail instead of deleting old files. This can be avoided by deleting old files as soon as the disks are swapped. This can be done manually, via pre-job script, or with the registry setting described below.

Retention on All Other Repositories

By default, repositories configured for rotated media do not delete any backup files when disks are swapped. If a disk containing a previous backup is to be re-used, but lacks sufficient available space for new backup files, the old files must be deleted manually, or by a pre-job script.

Retention policy is enforced, but only on the current backup chain. For example, consider a backup copy job that creates restore points every hour, with disks swapped once per day, and retention policy set to 6 restore points. Once there are 7 restore points on the current disk (a full backup file and 6 incremental backup files), the oldest increment is merged with the full backup file so that there are 6 restore points on disk. The disk is swapped out for a new one, and the process repeats. When the first disk is re-used, the 6 backup files still on the disk are ignored. A new full backup file is created, and a new chain of incremental files. At the end of the day, there are 12 restore points on disk, with only the most recent 6 visible in the Veeam Backup & Replication console.

An alternative behavior is available as a registry setting (below).

Force Deletion of Files When Disks are Rotated

When this registry setting is enabled (set to 3 or 5), any repository, regardless of rotated media setting, will maintain retention normally until the job detects that previously-available files are missing.

Create this value on the Veeam Backup and Replication server:

Location: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Veeam\Veeam Backup and Replication\
Type: DWORD (32 bit)
Name:  ForceDeleteBackupFiles
Value: (see below)

  • Set to 3 to make the job delete the entire contents of the backup job’s folder only.
  • Set to 5 to make the job delete the entire contents of the root backup repository folder, potentially deleting any files belonging to other jobs.
    Note that if the backup repository points at the volumes root folder, the entire volume's contents are erased.

The Veeam Backup Service must be restarted* after creating this registry value. Make sure no jobs or restores are running before restarting this service.

*Starting with Veeam Backup & Replication v9 all registry values are checked every 15 minutes, so a reboot will not be required but the service must be given time to rescan the registry and find the new setting.

More information

Limitations for Backup Repositories with Rotated Drives

Backup repositories with rotated drives have the following limitations:

  • On one managed server, you must create only one repository with rotated drives.
  • You cannot store archive full backups (GFS backups) created with backup jobs or backup copy jobs on backup repositories with rotated drives.
  • You cannot store per-VM backup files on backup repositories with rotated drives.
  • You cannot rescan backup repositories with rotated drives.
  • Scale-out backup repositories do not support rotated drives. If you enable the This repository is backed by rotated hard drives setting on an extent, Veeam Backup & Replication will ignore this setting and will work with such repository as with a standard extent.
  • Repositories with rotated drives are not supported as primary backup repositories, archive repositories, and secondary target repositories for NAS backup.
KB ID: 1154
Product: Veeam Backup & Replication
Version: 8.x or later
Published: 2011-10-06
Last Modified: 2021-03-25
Languages: IT | FR

Couldn't find what you were looking for?

Below you can submit an idea for a new knowledge base article.
Report a typo on this page:

Please select a spelling error or a typo on this page with your mouse and press CTRL + Enter to report this mistake to us. Thank you!

Spelling error in text

Knowledge base content request
By submitting, you agree that your personal data will be managed by Veeam in accordance with the Privacy Policy.

ty icon

Thank you!

We have received your request and our team will reach out to you shortly.


error icon

Oops! Something went wrong.

Please go back try again later.