Why can’t I delete a backup set?

At File to Backup we take protecting your data seriously, and there are many ways in which data loss can occur, unfortunately “user error” is often the most common reason.  This in itself isn’t an issue, we are all human after all, and if we didn’t make mistakes and accidentally delete data… well, there’d be a lot less need for services like File to Backup.

The ability to delete backup sets was originally enabled in the myFile to Backup.com portal, however due to the number of tickets we were receiving where users wanted us to restore a backup set they had deleted, se had to disable this.

When a backup set is deleted, it cannot, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, be recovered.  Users were deleting backup sets, ticking “I understand” to the above fact, then a few days, weeks, and in a couple of cases, months, later asking/demanding that we restore this data.

Why can’t the data be recovered once a backup set is deleted?

When you create an account with us, an encryption key is generated, this is tied to your account, and is unique to your account.  When a backup set is created, another encryption key is generated, which is unique to that backup set.  As you upload data into the backup set it is encrypted with both the key for your account, and the key for the backup set.  When the backup set is deleted, the key for the backup set is deleted too.  Although we could use your accounts encryption key to recover the backup set, all we would end up with is an encrypted data set, to which theres no key.

This methodology ensures that only you have access to your data.

The same thing happens when you delete your account – there is no way we can decode your data.

So how to I delete a backup set if I need to?

1. Rename the backup set to “DELETEME”.

2. Set your computer to backup again and create a new backup set (eg: NEW BACKUP).

3. Let the new backup set complete – our deduplication technology will compare the data you are trying to upload into NEW BACKUP with data already in DELETEME, this is only possible because the system has all the encryption keys it needs.  If the data is the same, it will copy it from DELETEME to NEW BACKUP.  This also means that you don’t have to reupload all of your data, only the files that have changed/been created since DELETEME was originally created.

4. Once the backup software completes, and there are no more changes, open a ticket and ask our team to delete the backup set (or sets) you have called DELETEME.

I’ve requested a backup set be deleted, but its not been done yet.

There is no impact on you if the backup set remains visible on your account, there are no storage limits with File to Backup, so whats the issue?

Once a request to delete a backup set is received, we now wait 30 days before processing that request.  Since introducing this process, we still receive tickets asking us to not action a delete me request, even though the user was sure they didn’t need that data anymore.

If you were ever in that position, you too would be glad that there is a delay in processing.



I honestly want to know what the impact of having an unused backup set, called DELETEME, sitting in your account is to you.

“It looks messy when I log into myFile to Backup.com portal” – is the only consistent reply users have so far.