Deleting old HFS Storage Protect backups

Backup is both invaluable and expensive, particularly when you are faced with the loss of your disk. To ensure the security of your data, we highly recommend creating regular scheduled or manual backups of your systems. To manage our resources efficiently and provide effective service, the guidelines for using the Storage Protect backup service request users to cooperate with us by maintaining active backups of their data. By 'active,' we mean that the backups should accurately reflect the current state of your data.

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In order to encourage users to keep their backups up to date, and to give them the opportunity to request the deletion of old, redundant backups, our service issues a rolling series of email updates.  The nature of this email is as follows:

  • On a daily basis, reminders of when the scheduled backups have failed or been missed are sent to email contacts.
  • Contacts for machines that haven't communicated with the Storage Protect servers in over 4 weeks will receive a notification by mail. This is to alert you that the backups for these machines are becoming stale and, consequently, less reliable in the event of data loss.
  • If a machine hasn't communicated with the Storage Protect servers for over 10 weeks, users will receive an email notification. This extended period of inactivity is inconsistent with our usage guidelines, which mandate regular backups of active data. The email serves as a warning, indicating that if the machine fails to initiate a backup within 28 days of receiving this notice, it will be removed from the backup service, and the stored backup data will be deleted.
  • Users are advised when the backups of any drives/volumes/partition/filesystems become more than 10 weeks old and thus can no longer be considered as active backups.  A warning is issued that these backups will be deleted if they are not refreshed within 28 days of this notice. Please note that only old backups are candidates here. You may have a mixture of old and recent backups.  In such cases your recent backups, those that have been refreshed within the last 10 weeks and are thus considered active, will be retained.  The messages you receive will refer only to backups of drive partitions that are older than 10 weeks.

The messages you receive will only refer to old backups, and they will not apply to backups recently created or refreshed.

There may be many reasons why backups have gone a long time without being refreshed. Some of these may include:

  • While a disk or volume or installation package was temporarily mounted on your system, it was backed up.  The disk/volume/package was subsequently unmounted and the backups have not been refreshed since, probably, because they were not wanted in the first place.
  • The disk has been repartitioned.
  • On Linux systems the mount points have been renamed.
  • On Windows platforms, the computer name has changed.
  • The Storage Protect nodename - the backup account - has been moved from one machine to another.

When you back up your machine using Storage Protect, it can only refresh the backups of drives/partitions/filesystems that currently exist on your machine.  Old drives/partitions/filesystems, perhaps stemming from any of the above reasons listed, cannot be refreshed and thus become inactive.  As a user, you cannot delete these backups.  Where you have identified backups of old drives or partitions that you wish to remove, please contact us at with the details.  When we identify old backups, we contact you, asking you to either refresh them, if they are currently active partitions, or asking you to let us delete them where they are of a partition no longer on your machine.

If your machine cannot be backed up for an extended period, causing scheduled backups to be missed, you can request an exemption from backup deletion. Contact us at with the Storage Protect nodename of the machine and the contact address of its owner. This option is time-limited, but we try to be accommodating.

If you are having problems using the Storage Protect backup software, please first of all try the help pages. Otherwise please contact us at, detailing the problem along with copies of the Storage Protect configuration files and error log. Details of the platform-specific location of these files can be found in our section on Storage Protect configuration and log files.

If you no longer require the backups of an entire machine to be kept, please deregister the node in the HFS Backup Services Portal. This will cause the backups to be deleted on the Storage Protect server (normally after a 7 day 'cooling off' period). Don't forget also to uninstall the Storage Protect software from the computer.

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