In some cases, you need to regularly create a full backup. For example, your corporate backup policy may require that you create a full backup on weekend and run incremental backup on work days. To let you conform to these requirements, Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows lets you create active full backups.
When Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows performs active full backup, it produces a full backup file and adds this file to the backup chain.
The active full backup resets the backup chain. All incremental backup files use the latest active full backup file as a new starting point. A previously used full backup file and its subsequent incremental backup files remain on the disk. After the last incremental backup file created prior to the active full backup becomes outdated, Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows automatically deletes the previous backup chain. To learn more, see Retention Policy for Active Full Backups.
You can create active full backups manually or schedule a backup job to create active full backups periodically.
- To create an active full backup manually, use the Active full backup command from the Veeam Agent Tray menu. To learn more, see Creating Active Full Backups.
- To schedule active full backups, specify scheduling settings in the Advanced Settings window of the New Backup Job wizard. You can schedule active full backups to run weekly, for example, every Saturday, or monthly, for example, every first Thursday of a month.
To be able to restore data from a Veeam Agent backup, you need to have a full backup file and a chain of subsequent incremental backup files on the disk. If you delete a full backup file, the whole chain of incremental backup files will become useless. In a similar manner, if you delete any incremental backup file before the point to which you want to roll back, you won’t be able to restore data (since later incremental backup files depend on earlier incremental backup files).
For this reason, if you create an active full backup manually or set up the backup job to create active full backups, in some days there will be more restore points on the disk than specified by retention policy settings. Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows will remove the full backup chain only after the last incremental backup file in the chain becomes outdated.
For example, the retention policy is set to 3 restore points. A full backup file is created on Sunday, incremental backup files are created Monday through Saturday, and an active full backup is scheduled on Thursday. Although the retention policy is already breached on Wednesday, the full backup is not deleted. Without the full backup, backup chain would be useless, leaving you without any restore point at all. Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows will wait for the next full backup file and 2 incremental backup files to be created, and only then will delete the whole previous chain, which will happen on Saturday.
Keep in mind that if the backup job is set up to create periodic active full backups, Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows will never transform the backup chain. Instead, Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows will always wait for the next full backup file and the necessary number of incremental backup files to be created, and only then will delete the whole previous chain. In the example above, Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows will delete the previous chain every Saturday. As a result, although the retention policy is set to 3 restore points, the actual number of backup files on the disk will be greater most of the time.
In contrary, in a situation when you manually create a single active full backup, Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows will treat the active full backup in the same way as a regular full backup. If some restore point becomes obsolete, Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows will re-build the full backup file to include in it data of the incremental backup file that follows the full backup file. After that, Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows will remove the earliest incremental backup file from the chain as redundant.