Friday 9 February 2018

How to change backup retention for an Azure VM in Recovery Services Vault

This seemed a little bit hidden in the portal and I couldn't find any guides online. So, here is how to change the backup retention for an Azure virtual machine within the portal.

Hidden away here in the Azure Backup FAQ, Microsoft states:

"When a new policy is applied, schedule and retention of the new policy is followed. If retention is extended, existing recovery points are marked to keep them as per new policy. If retention is reduced, they are marked for pruning in the next cleanup job and subsequently deleted."

This means you will delete older backups when the policy is changed. Additionally, you keep existing backups according to your new policy.

How to change your policy

  • Log into the portal and find your Recovery Services Vault.

  • Click on the vault, then find 'Backup policies' in the menu blade.

  • Click '+ Add', select a policy type, fill in the policy details and click Create.

  • Once the policy is created, go back to the main Recovery Services Vault tab and click the vault.

  • Find 'Backup Items' in the menu blade.

  • Click Azure Virtual Machine.

  • Click on the VM you want to change.

  • Click the settings button.

  • Click 'Backup Policy'

  • Choose the new backup policy and click Save.

Once the Deployments show as succeeded in the notifications area, go back to the 'Backup policies' blade from the start, click the policy, then click 'Associated Items' to check that the correct virtual machines have been assigned this policy.


  1. Azure IaaS VM Backup offers one backup per day, if two are required then Azure Backup Server or System Center DPM (both IaaS based solutions) should be considered since they offer more flexibility in this regard, but the downside is that you will need to architect and manage the infrastructure. Thus backup to azure for your backup needs is the fine solution.

  2. Looks complicated. However, still worth trying. Thanks for the guide.


Please be nice! :)

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