How to purge the Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) snapshots if they do not get deleted automatically after the backup of Shadow Copy Components.

Problem

How to purge the Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) snapshots if they do not get deleted automatically after the backup of Shadow Copy Components.

Cause

The cache files, also referred to as snapshots may not get deleted if no limit has been set on the amount of disk space the cache files can occupy and are located in the System Volume Information folder. (Figure 1)

Solution

When a backup of the Shadow Copy Components is run the Windows VSS service generates cache files that contain the original data that changed during backup.

Figure 1
 


The amount of free disk space is affected by the cache files therefore, orphaned cache files may need to be purged.

Follow the steps below to purge the VSS cache files.

1.   On the drive where the cache files are present, right click the drive, select Properties, go to the Shadow Copies tab and press the Settings button. (Figure 2)

Figure 2
 


2.   In the Settings window place a bullet in the Use limit option and set the limit to 300 MB and click OK. (Figure 3)

Figure 3
 


After applying the size limitation the Volume Shadow copy Service should delete the shadow copy files.

Once the shadow copy files have been deleted set a maximum size limit of the total storage area that the shadow copies can occupy. (Figure 4)

Figure 4
 


For information on determining the amount of space recommended for shadow copy usage please refer to the Microsoft Windows documentation.
After the maximum size limit has been established any remaining Cache Files should get deleted automatically after the next backup that utilizes VSS.
 
 

Command line options:
Instead of using the GUI above, the procedure can also be completed by command line.

Open a command prompt on Window as Administrator.
List the server volumes and the volume where the the Shadow Volume is mapped.
   C:\Windows\Wystem32>vssadmin list shadowstorage

Set the Shadow space to the minimum 300MB.
Example C:\volume
   C:\Windows\System32>vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage /For=C: /On=C: /MaxSize=300MB
   Successfully resized the shadow copy storage association

Then set the limit on the C:\volume
   C:\Windows\System32>vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage /For=C: /On=C: /MaxSize=10240MB
   Successfully resized the shadow copy storage association
 

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