Windows Server 2012 wasn’t deleting old backups

Today I realised that our Windows 2012 backups were not working because we had run out of space on the backup disk. Windows Server Backup should automatically delete the oldest backups but for some reason it wasn’t doing this. (From what I read this may be due to corrupt snapshots.)

The solution seems to be to try to manually delete the oldest backup. This can be done by first giving the backup drive a drive letter (in this case E:) and then running:
vssadmin delete shadows /for=x: /oldest

However, this didn’t work for me as I received the error:

Error: Snapshots were found, but they were outside of your allowed context. Try removing them with the backup application which created them.

To fix this problem you need to view and delete them manually.

From the command prompt:

list shadows all
delete shadows set {id of shadow to be deleted if selective deletion is to be performed}


delete shadows all {if all shadows are to be deleted}

This information was found on this site:

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