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Thursday, 19 February 2015

How to remove deduplication on a Windows 2012R2 server - hold onto your hats!

We ended up having to remove deduplication off our Windows 2012R2 server on a few volumes as Netbackup could not 'in a few circumstances' be able to restore data.  This was despite us checking the compatibility and, of course, completing some tests.

Fortunately, we had replicated the server over to our DR site using VMware's SRM product, so we were able to test this next step before we did it, gulp, on the live environment.

First things first - DO NOT UNINSTALL THE DEDUPLICATION SERVICE ON THE WINDOWS SERVER and then read through all of this before you do the work!

Then start a powershell and type in

start-dedupjob -volume VolumeLetter -Type Unoptimization

Note the spelling of unoptimisation - I want to type it with an S - I'm never sure which are the correct way round in this trans-Atlantic world that we live in today.

The unoptimization will start its work.  It will take a long time.  It will increase disk IO.  And despite you checking what your data size is and your unoptimised size - you will need to increase the disk size allocated to your Windows server.  The unoptimisation creates a large data footprint on the same volume but does tidy up after itself.  You can shrink the volumes afterwards.  We didn't change the disk size on our practice server and it just worked over many hours.  However, with the live environment, which we monitored during the working day, we could the remaining disk space just being eaten up and used up.

You can check how it is all going by typing in


It will stay at 0% for ages - hours even.  Then it will just go 50%, 60% and the remaining percentages over an hour or so.

This does work, we haven't lost data and we only did it because we couldn't guarantee the data protection for the backups - but that made it scary to do on the live environment (despite checking it in test which was a duplication of live) as if it all went wrong, we didn't have backup to go back to.

But it worked!

Hope it helps others.

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