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Solved: How Do You Delete Orphan System Restore Points ?

Discussion in 'Windows Vista' started by mikinvs, Mar 19, 2007.

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  1. mikinvs

    mikinvs Thread Starter

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    Is there a facility in Vista to delete seemingly orphan restore points ? I upgraded to Vista from XP last year and I've noticed I have around 8Gb of disk space in my system volume information directory. All of the restore points in this directory are dated prior to the date of the upgrade. I've tried all of the usual mechanisms of deletion via postings out there on the internet, e.g. disabling/re-enabling restore points, using the disk clean up utility and even attempting to give myself write access to the folder (which I don't believe is possible in Vista). The files simply will not go away !

    Somebody else out there must be seeing this This problem is driving me nuts.

    Thanks in advance for any help.

    Mike.
     
  2. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Not going to reboot to try this, but try adding yourself to the System Volume Information folder's full access permissions and then reboot into Safe Mode to try to clean out the folder.
     
  3. mikinvs

    mikinvs Thread Starter

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    Already tried this. I did more experimenting last night with system restore, by switching it on, creating several restore points, using disk cleanup to remove all but the most recent, then disabling system restore to remove the most recent. Still the _restore{blah} directory remains, with all of those restore points created by XP before the upgrade.

    I've tried taking ownership of the directory and deleting it. It gets as far as saying "Do you want to delete RPxxx (a directory in System Volume Information/_restore{blah})" ? When I say yes, nothing happens. I suspect the Vista kernel is intercepting my request to delete the directory and coming back with, "No chance", irrespective of what I've set on the SVI directory and its contents. I've tried this with and without User Access Control enabled.

    I upgraded the machine in question to Vista last November when it was released to the business world. I understand that System Restore has been overhauled in Vista and I suspect one side effect of this is that it 1) did not delete the _restore{} directory when it should have. After all, I can't believe that it would be possible to go back to an XP restore point once the Vista payload had been delivered and deployed. 2) That Vista and Vista alone controls the contents of the System Volume Information directory. I know of no other tool that can clean up the mess I have in there following the upgrade. 3) The kernel stops us from doing anything untoward in the SVI directory. I have been successful at gaining access to the SVI directory and deleting problematic restore points within an XP deployment.
     
  4. downtime

    downtime

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    Hmm, I just managed to gain control and delete Vista's SVI folder from an XP boot on the same machine. Booting back to Vista, when I change ownership and make sure under the auditing tab both the Administrator account and the System account have full control, and under the Edit button both again are selected, with full control again, I can use Move On Boot 1.9.5 to delete files in the folder, but not whole folders. I have restore turned off, so the only file I can delete on reboot is the tracking file, which shows the new time it was recreated, so it is being deleted. To test it, I copied the MOB exe to the folder, right clicked it and chose delete file(s) on next reboot. When I rebooted, it was gone. It's not a perfect solution, but at least you should be able to get rid of the files in the folders. You can lasso all the files in a folder and choose to delete them, they don't need to be done individually.
     
  5. mikinvs

    mikinvs Thread Starter

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    This didn't work for me either. I must've messed up my user account at some point in the past. Thankfully however, Vista comes with a recovery console that I booted into and "rmdir /s"ed the offending folders into oblivion. It's nice finally getting access to the filesystem without Vista getting in the way.

    Thanks guys for all your suggestions.
     
  6. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    Why not just turn off system restore, then turn it back on? This will remove all the restore points, then you can create a "starter" restore point and move on.
     
  7. mikinvs

    mikinvs Thread Starter

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    It's not that easy; trust me I've tried this several times. Switching system restore on and then off again only deletes Vista originated restore points, not previously saved XP restore points.

    From what I've read, Vista incorporates an overhauled system restore mechanism, which would explain the differences I see in format between XP and Vista restore points. It was a combination of differing formats, bugs in the upgrade procedure and Vista's paranoid security that's made this a real pain to deal with. Thankfully, Microsoft still provides the recovery console. When armed with this, it's simply a case deleting the offending directory using the rmdir utility.
     
  8. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    I don't know about Vista yet -- but on XP I believe one method of deleting older System Restore points is to limit the amount of drive space made available to System Restore -- only the more recent restore points that fit in that space allocation will be preserved.
     
  9. mikinvs

    mikinvs Thread Starter

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    Yep, went there as well and even hacked the registry to have it limit the amount of space (tried something rediculously low and then zero). The folder still wouldn't go away.

    Vista restore points differ a great deal from XP restore points. Each Vista RP comprises of one large file and a small file (presumably some indexing file) within the top level SVI folder; you have no idea what's contained in this file, even the name of the files are cryptic.

    XP RP's are contained within a _restore{device_id} folder within the SVI folder. Each RP is a directory named RPxxx. The contents of each RPxxx directory is a directory structure of backed up files just like any other directory of files.

    My conclusion is that Vista isn't entirely backward compatible with XP restore points, and that the Vista upgrade should have either deleted them or migrated them to the new format.
     
  10. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    Lol, well at least I can hope they've made it more reliable than XP's which had way too many catch22 dependencies :rolleyes:

    Should have a Vista system to start playing with Friday. :)
     
  11. MMJ

    MMJ Guest

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    Did you try using killbox or the likes?
     
  12. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    Well, I'd make a full image backup (just in case), and then try this:

    Turn off System recovery in Vista first, then...

    Boot from the Vista DVD and use the recovery console to remove the restore points.
     
  13. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    Hasn't the recovery console been removed in Vista?

    And isn't there a command prompt tool available as an alternative?
     
  14. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    Well, you don't want Vista running for the exercise, so perhaps an XP install disk would do the trick. All you need is access to the NTFS file system to delete the contents of the System Volume Information folder.
     
  15. mikinvs

    mikinvs Thread Starter

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    Yep, that was the solution to my problem in the end. I would've been astonished if the recovery console did not let me delete the files. At the end of the day it's only a filesystem! BTW, when you create a restore point in Vista, the directory properties of the SVI folder are "conveniently" reset for you. Thanks, Vista.
     
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