12366: Acronis Backup & Recovery: Retention Rules

How to use retention rules in Acronis Backup & Recovery

This article applies to:

  • Acronis Backup & Recovery 11.5
  • Acronis Backup & Recovery 11
  • Acronis Backup & Recovery 10


Retention rules allow you to limit the backup archive size and set the lifetime for backups. This way you can ensure that backups do not fill up all the available storage space.

The following retention rules can be specified:

  • Delete backups older than: when retention rules are applied, the program deletes all archives older than the specified age;
  • Keep the archive size within: the program compares the size of the archive with the value that you specified and deletes the oldest backups to keep the archive within the specified size.
    • To protect the recent archives from deletion, select Never delete backups younger than checkbox and specify the maximum age of backups that must be kept.

When a deletion of a backup affects other backups (e.g. a full backup violates retention rules and should be deleted, but there are incremental backups depending on it) one of the following rules is applied:

  • Retain the backup until all dependent backups become subject to deletion: the backup will be kept until all backups that depend on it also violate retention rules. Then all the chain will be deleted at once during the regular cleanup. This mode requires extra storage space for storing backups whose deletion is postponed;
  • Consolidate the backup: The program will consolidate the backup that is subject to deletion with the next dependent backup. This mode requires more time and system resources to perform the consolidation.

(!) Retention rules are effective if the archive contains more than one backup. The last backup in the archive will be kept even if a retention rule violation is detected.

(!) Retention rules cannot be applied when using simplified archive naming. Instead you can use batch files for managing backup files. See Acronis Backup & Recovery 10: Simplified Archive Naming and Using Batch Files in Acronis True Image.


Retention rules can be specified for Simple and Custom backup schemes.

(!) The retention rules logic assumes that the storage device capacity is much more than the average backup size and the maximum archive size does not come close to the physical storage capacity, but leaves a reasonable reserve (e.g. if average backup size is 95GB, do not store it on 100GB hard drive). Due to this, exceeding the archive size that may occur between the cleanup task runs will not be critical for the business process.

More information

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