Explain backup snapshot storage and deletion


Active Member
May 24, 2022
Reaction score
I have two snapshots (back-in-time). The first one is a full backup and the second is a partial consisting of new data since the first snapshot.
1) Now, if I do a full restore I assume I must use the first (full) snapshot and then use the second (partial). Is that correct so far?
2) But if I delete the first (full) snapshot after the second (partial) snapshot, is it still possible to do a full restore or would I first need to do a third backup?
As you probably deduced I am not privy to how snapshot function...only how to make them and restore them in a smooth running world.

I have not used Backintime yet although it is on my to-do list (Timeshifter), so the following is just guesswork based on IME.

Typically the circumstances you describe, of the first being a full backup - the second one you call "partial" would be an incremental, that is it only contains those files and folders newer or modified since those on the first.

Again, typically, that second, incremental one would be "hard-linked" to the first.

That means that if you deleted your OS, or it came to a non-functional state, you should be able to launch the second one, and when it has completed its operation it would enlist the first to restore your system to working order.

That's my best guess, but you may be better served by checking with a manual or user guide, or searching for tutorials and videos with the appropriate keywords.

Let us know how you go.

Normally, the full back up will restore your computer to the state it was when the snapshot was taken, the second will just update those files that changed after the full back up was taken....

Restore them in sequence.
When I restore an incremental backup, it also restores the previous full backup automatically. The software that's doing the restore knows how to do this. Though, I haven't used anything that fancy in a while - outside of my online content. That's abstracted away quite a bit, but works the same way.

If you tried restoring it manually, you'd find it more cumbersome - needing to do the full restore and then the incremental backup. The backup software you used should have a restore option somewhere. Use that.
For a full restore, you are correct. You would start with the first (full) snapshot, which contains the complete backup of your data. Then, you would apply the changes from the second (partial) snapshot to bring it up to date. This ensures that you have all the necessary data to restore your system to its desired state.
If you delete the first (full) snapshot and keep only the second (partial) snapshot, you can still perform a full restore. The second snapshot includes the incremental changes made since the first snapshot. Therefore, it contains the necessary data to restore your system to the latest state. You wouldn't need to create a third backup unless you want an additional point-in-time backup for future restores.
If you delete the first (full) snapshot and keep only the second (partial) snapshot, you can still perform a full restore.
This answers my question. I do not understand how I could still get a full restore with the 1st full backup deleted but the fact that I can is sufficient for now.

Members online